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Librarian of the University 1868-1883 
1905 I 

(\^^^TS6 I'il^i.^ . 

Cornell University Library 
PR 4613.D2 1915 

The poems of Digby "*'=''*'?,'[|I|'J,|!?,™S|"' 
3 1924 013 341 742 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis bool< is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 





From a p/atografh by Mcsirs. Hills &- Sauilden 









The Poems copyright in the United States 
by Robert Bridges, 

/\,i-^ ^ n =( G 




Homo factus est , 

From the Cloister 

Amorem sensus . 

' On river banks my love was born ' 

A Sea Song 

Good Night 

A Poem without a Name 

In the Garden . 

After reading Aeschylus 

After reading Homer 

' There was one who walked in shadow ' 

' From the great Poet's lips I thought to take ' 

Good Friday 

Anacreontic ...... 

'Epas "ifupd! re ..... 

' Strange, all-absorbing Love, who gatherest ' 
From Sappho ...... 

' Christ, for whose only Love I keep me clean ' 
On the Picture of an Angel by Fra Angelico 
Requests ..... 

' Beautiful, oh beautiful ' . 

The Eternal Calvary 

* We hurry on, nor passing note ' 

The Pilgrim and the Knight 

Brevi tempore magnum perfecit opus 

A Prayer 

The Lily 

A Letter ..... 
The Annunciation . 
















Sister Death . . . • 

Cave of Somnus. Translation . 
Dianae Munusculum. After Catullus 
Anacreontic. Translation . 
From Martial. Translation 
Poppies ..... 
Beyond ..... 


Pro Castitate .... 

Flov/ers for the Altar 

A Poem without a Name . 

The Shrine .... 

' One night I dreamt that in a gleaming hall ' 

' I thank thee, Love, that thou hast overthrown ' 

' A boyish friendship ! No, respond the chimes ' 

' O come, my king, and fill the palaces ' . 

Dum agonizatur anima, orent assistentes 

A Song of Eighteen . 

Last Words. From the ItaUan . 

A Song ..... 

Enough ..... 

' Lean over me — ah so, — let fall ' 

He would have his Lady sing . 

Core ..... 

' Far above the shaken trees ' . 

' Unto the central height of purple Rome ' 

' Methought, through many years and lands 


Index of Titles 
Index of First Lines • 



I HAD not visited Eton for many years, when one 
day passing from the Fellows' Library into the Gallery 
I caught sight of the portrait of my school-friend 
Digby Dolben hanging just without the door among 
our most distinguished contemporaries. I was wholly 
arrested, and as I stood gazing on it, my companion 
asked me if I knew who it was. I was thinking that, 
beyond a few whom I could name, I must be almost 
the only person who would know. Far memories of 
my boyhood were crowding freshly upon me : he was 
standing again beside me in the eager promise of his 
youth ; I could hear his voice ; nothing of him was 
changed ; while I, wrapt from him in a confused mist 
of time, was wondering what he would think, could he 
know that at this actual moment he would have been 
dead thirty years, and that his memory would be thus 
preserved and honoured in the beloved school, where 
his delicate spirit had been so strangely troubled. 

This portrait -gallery of old Etonians is very select : 

preeminent distinction of birth or merit may win you 

a place there, or again official connection with the 


school, which rightly loves to keep up an unbroken 
panorama of its teachers, and to vivify its annals with 
the faces and figures of the personalities who carried on 
its traditions. But how came Dolben there ? It was 
because he was a poet, — that I knew ; — and yet his 
poems were not known ; they were jealously guarded 
by his family and a few friends : indeed such of his 
poems as could have come to the eyes of the authorities 
who sanctioned this memorial would not justify it. 
There was another reason ; and the portrait bears its 
own credentials ; for though you might not perhaps 
divine the poet in it, you can see the saint, the soul rapt 
in contemplation, the habit of stainless life, of devotion, 
of enthusiasm for high ideals. Such a being must have 
stood out conspicuously among his fellows ; the facts 
of his life would have been the ground of the faith in 
his genius ; and when his early death endeared and 
sanctified his memory, loving grief would generously 
grant him the laurels which he had never worn. 

It falls now to me to teU his short story, and to edit 
the poems which are his true and enduring title to 
mortal fame. 

Digby Mackworth Dolben was born February 8, 
1848, in Guernsey. His home was Finedon Hall, in 
( vi" ) 


Northamptonshire. His father was a Mackworth, his 
mother a Dolben. He was the youngest of a family 
of three sons and a daughter, who is now the only 
survivor.^ His father, who inherited a strong protes- 
tant tradition, and had the reputation of maintaining 
it, must have educated him from infancy in the strictest 
religious creeds and motives : he sent him also to 
a private school, Mr. Tabor's at Cheam, where religious 
instruction was made much of. One of his fellow- 
pupils there has publicly recorded his influence, and 
his efforts to awaken in his schoolfellows the religious 
emotion which, in his passionate regard of all things, 
was to him, as it was to St. Francis, the only meaning 
and the true poetry of life. Another of them, Went- 
worth Beaumont Hankey, who preceded him by one 
term at Eton, and to whom he was much attached, has 
his own memoir. Hankey was as worthy a companion 
as he could ever have met with anywhere. Another, 
Robert Bickersteth, whose friendship at both schools 
was also loyal and admiring, remembers that the first 
letter that he ever had from a school-friend was one 

* Ellen Mackworth Dolben died Feb. 2, 1912, shortly after 
the publication of this book, gratified to have seen her duty to 
her brother accomplished. She assisted me throughout the 



from Digby, generously congratulating him on winning 
the prize for which they had both competed. These 
two and other friendships that he made at Cheam 
lasted him till his death. It was in January 1862 that 
he passed on to Eton, and, being billeted in the same 
Dame's house as myself, was recommended to my care. 
I was related through my mother with both Dolbens 
and Mackworths, indeed my mother's great-grand- 
mother in the direct male line was a Dolben, so that 
I myself am in some fractional part a Dolben ; and 
the names of Dolben, Mackworth, and Finedon were 
familiar to me as far back as nursery days, when my 
mother used to amuse us younger children with tales 
of her own childhood. A merry, gamesome spirit was 
not the least of her charms, and that she had been so 
universal a favourite in her girlhood may have been 
greatly due to the original pranks with which she would 
enliven any society whose dulness or gravity provoked 
her. Among the various scenes of her fund of stories 
Finedon was one. Her grandfather had once been 
rector of the parish, and the family associations were , 
continued by occasional visits to Hall or Rectory, in 
days that seemed to the younger generation to have 
been unusually supplied with a dignified and long-lived 


aristocracy of generals, baronets and divines, whose 
features were familiar to me among the many minia- 
tures, silhouettes and other little portraits, mementos 
of personal aflfection, that hung in my mother's rooms, 
and in their eighteenth-century fashions, kindled our 
imaginations of a strange and remote world. 

A story which I well remember will exhibit the 
keeping of these associations, — though I cannot truly 
locate it at Finedon, — ^how my mother espying one of 
these old-fashioned gentlemen taking a nap by the open 
window of a garden-room, drew his pigtail through to 
the outside, and shut the sash down upon it. Her 
freak, inspired by simple delight in the prospect of the 
mighty anger and fuss that would ensue when the hero 
awoke, was fully successful, and the consequent dis- 
turbance went on rippling with amusement in her 
memory for at least seventy-five years. I should lack 
piety and humour if I neglected this opportunity of 
according to the absurdity a renewed lease of life. 

I had never myself met any of his family until Digby 

came to Eton, but our sisters were intimate, and we 

could call each other cousin. As I happened to be 

captain of the house, I was able without inconvenience 

to discharge those duties of elder relative which are so 


specially obnoxious to Eton boys, I enrolled Dolben 
among my fags, and looked after him. 

Of the growth of our friendship during the school- 
terms between his first arrival at Eton and my leaving 
in July 1863 I could give a more circumstantial account, 
if the records of my memory were in any order of time, 
but they are not ; and were I to attempt to make 
a consecutive tale of them, I should be consciously 
constructing it on inferences open to all the tricks of 
memory, especially that incalculable delusion due to 
shift of knowledge and feeling. Except for a few main 
facts I shall therefore avoid giving to my narration of 
his school-Ufe any sequence ; and in questioning my 
recollections I am persuaded that most of them are of 
the last six months. I shall reproduce then only that 
part of the picture which I clearly see. It might have 
been possible to correct the disorder of my memory 
had there been existing letters of this early date to 
help me ; but his family kept none, nor, with a few 
exceptions, have I been able to discover any beside 
those which I myself preserved ; and they do not begin 
until August 1863, when our separation gave rise to 
a written correspondence. After that date these letters 
will be the basis of my memoir, 


Of our first meeting I have no recollection ; but 
I remember him very well as a lower-boy in his broad 
collar and jacket. He was tall, pale, and of delicate 
appearance, and though his face was thoughtful and 
his features intellectual, he would not at that time have 
been thought good-looking. Indeed he was persistently 
teased by the Uttle boys for his appearance, his neglect- 
ful dress, his abstracted manner, and his incapacity for 
games at ball. Not that he was inactive ; he had his 
own pony at home and was fond of riding ; he also 
became a good swimmer and delighted in open-air 
bathing ; but his short sight excluded him from the 
common school-games ; and though the dreaminess 
which it gave to his expression came to be a character- 
istic and genuine charm, it was, until it won romantic 
interpretation, only an awkwardness. He was a boy 
who evidently needed both protection and sympathy, 
and I could not have talked to him without discovering 
the attraction of our similar inclinations and outlook 
on life. 

For, different as we were in physical temperament, 

different as boys could be^ we were both of us terribly 

serious, determined, and of artistic bent, and had come 

through the same sort of home-teaching to the same 


mental perplexity. We satisfied our natural bias to- 
wards art by poetry, but the magnitude of the religious 
problems which we had been led up to face was occupy- 
ing our attention ; it involved both our spiritual and 
practical interests in life. A sectarian training had 
provided us with premisses, which, so long as they 
remained unquestioned, were of overwhelming signifi- 
cance : they dominated everything : the logical situa- 
tion was appalling : the ordinary conventions of life 
were to us merely absurd : we regarded the claim of 
the church in the same way as Cardinal Newman had 
elaborated it in his writings ; and we were no doubt 
indirectly influenced by his views, though I had never 
myself read any controversial books, and had Httle 
taste for them. We were in fact both of us Pusey-ites, 
and if we reacted somewhat differently to the same 
influences, yet neither of us at that time doubted that 
our toga virilis would be the cassock of a priest or the 
habit of a monk. How I had first come to imbibe these 
notions I cannot now perceive, unless, as I think, it 
was the purely logical effect of Keble's ' Christian 
Year ', a book regarded in my family as good poetry, 
and given to us on Sundays to learn by heart. Dolben 

had lived under the influence of his mother's sister, his 


Aunt Annie, an intellectual and charming lady (as 
described to me) with strong ecclesiastical sympathies 
of a mystical sort. Finedon was her home, and she 
only left it to undertake the charitable care of an 
invalid friend in Belgravia, where, when Digby visited 
her, he had full opportunities of seeing and hearing 
whatever there was of the most extreme high-church 
ritual and doctrine. There too he met with his cousin 
the Rev. Euseby Cleaver, of S. Barnabas Church, who 
must have been a stark ascetic : and with these advan- 
tages, as he would have called them, he was naturally 
far more advanced in the definition and complications 
of orthodoxy than I could be, especially as my temper 
was impatient of controversy. 

In a school of eight hundred we were of course not 
the only high-church boys, and there were some ten 
or twelve who, though we in no sense formed a ' set ', 
were known to each other, and united by a sort of 
freemasonry. Scattered among the different forms and 
houses, and with different recreations and tastes, we 
seldom met ; and I could name only three or four with 
whom I was on actual terms of friendship. Among 
these, Vincent Stuckey Coles — ^lately Principal of the 

Pusey House at Oxford — ^was preeminent for his 

XV ) 


precocious theological bent and devotion to the cause, 
— for that was one incidental aspect of our common 
opinions ; he was indeed the recognised authority, and 
our leader in so far as universal esteem and confidence 
could give any one such a position amongst us : and 
I no sooner discovered Dolben's predilections than 
I introduced him to Coles, who quickly became much 
attached to him, and served him with kind offices and 
sound advice on many occasions when he sadly needed 
it. With such friends as Coles, Hankey, Lionel Muir- 
head, Bickersteth and Manning, he was well off, — ^he 
could not have had more congenial companions ; but 
without them he would have been miserably isolated 
at Etonj for he had no common interests of any kind 
with the average school-boy, scarcely even the burning 
question of the quahty of the food provided to develop 
our various potentialities. He seemed of a different 
species, among the little ruffians a saint, among sportive 
animals a distressful spirit. By what steps our intimacy 
at first grew I cannot now teU. As neither work nor 
play threw us together, I saw but little of him during 
the day : he never even in my last term accompanied 
me in my frequent visits to S. George's Chapel, where 
it was my custom to go on short after-fours and sit in 
( xvi ) 


the north aisle or organ-loft, stealing out at the end 

of the anthem in time to be not very late for five 

o'clock school. Our meetings were therefore generally 

after lock-up, when, if we both had work to do, he 

would sometimes bring his to my room, but more often 

I would go uninvited to sit with him. His room looked 

over the Slough road, a small narrow room with the 

door at the end of one long side, and a window at the 

opposite diagonal corner. Against the wall facing the 

window stood his plain oaken bureau, at which he 

would sit with his back to the window, while I occupied 

most of the rest of the room at right angles to him. 

The clearest picture that I have of him is thus seated, 

with his hands linked behind his head, tilting his chair 

backward as he deliberated his careful utterances : or 

sometimes he would balance it on one leg, and steady 

himself by keeping the fingers of his outstretched arms 

in touch with the walls. There was moreover a hole 

in the boards of the floor, and if the chair-leg went 

through and precipitated him on to the carpet, that 

was a part of the performance and gave him a kind 

of satisfaction. The bureau-lid lay open before him as 

a desk, and in the top drawer on the right he kept his 

poems. His face whether grave or laughing was always 
DOLBEN ( xvii ) b 


full of thought : he would sometimes throw himself 
backward as if to escape from the stress of it, or he 
would lean forward with meditative earnestness and 
appear to concentrate his attention on the tallow dip, 
which in its brazen saucer was the only illumination, 
feeding it anxiously with grease from the point of the 
snuffers, or snuffing it to the quick till he put it out. 
When he spoke it was with a gentle voice and slowly 
as if he pondered every word. 

One evening I remember his exhibiting to me how 
he escaped the necessity of going to the hair-dresser, 
by burning his hair when it got too long. It was then 
rather curly rough hair that stood ofi from his head. 
He set it alight with the candle in one hand, and when 
it flared up, he put it out with the otLer, gravely 
recommending the practice on the professional theory 
of sealing the ends of the hair.^ 

^ Coles writes : ' My recollections of that room include two 
scenes ; one described by Dolben, how standing — no doubt in 
a dream — at the window with an inkpot in his hand, he had 
begun to pour the ink into the road, when he was startled by 
a remonstrance, " Boy, boy, what are you doing ? " from 
Balston, whose hat was receiving the stream. The other very 
characteristic. We had come to know that there was such a thing 
as a " Retreat ", though how to set about it rather puzzled us. 
We had reduced our food, and had settled down to devotions 
consisting eminently of prayers for the soul of K. Henry VI, 
( xviii ) 


That one's memory should so faithfully have retamed 
so foolish an incident, while it neglected to record any 
one of our many talks, may be easily explained, but it 
is none the less annoying. We may very often have 
spoken on rehgious matters, but when I try to recall 
those evenings, it is only of poetry that I think, of our 
equal enthusiasm for it, and mutual divergence of 
taste : the conversations themselves perished no doubt 
of sheer immaturity. I was then reading Shakespeare 
for the first time, and my imperfect understanding 
hindered neither my enjoyment nor admiration. I also 
studied Milton, and carried Keats in my pocket. But 
Dolben, though I cannot remember that he had any 
enthusiasm for Shakespeare, was more widely read in 
poetry than I, as he was also more abreast with the 
taste of the day. Browning, M"'-' Browning, Tennyson 

but " after four " our constancy broke down, and (could Dolben 
have had a fag ?) some one was sent for ices.' 

[As to the first of these tales, the enormity of the contretemps 
cannot be imagined by one who never knew the beautiful Head- 
master. Dr. Balston was as sans reproche in dress as in every- 
thing else. If he had any blemish it lurked somewhere in the 
obscurities of Greek syntax. That Dolben emptied the dregs 
of his inkpot into the road, and that Balston was passing is 
credible enough ; but that the mess fell on to his hat is exaggera- 
tion. It is impossible. Providence would never have allowed 
it. R.B.] 

( xiz ) b 2 


and Ruskin were the authors of whom he would talk ; 
and among the poets he ranked Faber, a Romanized 
clergyman, of whose works I have nothing to say, 
except that a maudlin hymn of his, when Digby showed 
it me, provoked my disgust. I used to think that he 
had written a good many hymns in imitation of Faber, 
and that it was partly my dislike of that sort of thing 
which made him unwilling to show me his verses. My 
own boyish muse was being silenced by my reading of 
the great poets, and we were mutually coy of exposing 
our secret productions, which were so antipatheticaUy 
bad. My last serious poem at school was a sentimental 
imitation of Spenser, and I remember his reading that. 
I was also abhorrent towards Ruskin, for I thought 
him affected, and was too ignorant of painting to 
understand his sermonizing ; nor could I imagine how 
another could presume to tell me what I should like 
or dislike : and well as I loved some of Tennyson's 
early lyrics, and had them by heart, yet when I heard 
Ihe Idylls of the King praised as if they were the final 
attainment of all poetry, then I drew into my shell, 
contented to think that I might be too stupid to 
understand, but that I could never expect as good 
a pleasure from following another's taste as I got from 



my own. I remember how I submissively concluded 
that it must be my own dulness which prevented my 
admiring Tennyson as much as William Johnson did, — 
and this no doubt was a very proper conclusion ; and 
I yielded to the vogue enough to choose from the 
Idylls my speech on the 4th of June, wherewith I in- 
dulged the ears of his late majesty K. Edward VII on 
the year of his marriage ; and I even purchased as 
gifts to my friends the fashionable volumes which I had 
never read through. As for Browning, I had no lean- 
ings towards him ; but when Digby read me extracts 
from Saul, I responded fairly well, and remember the 
novelty of the impression to this day. Of Dolben's 
own verse of this date no scrap remains. One evening 
when I was sitting in his room and moved to pull out 
the drawer where he kept his poems, the usual protest 
was not made. The drawer was empty ; and he told 
me that he had burned them, every one. I was shocked, 
and felt some remorse in thinking that it was partly 
his dislike of my reading them that had led him to 
destroy them ; and I always regretted their destruc- 
tion until the other day, when having to consider all 
his poems in the order of their composition, I realized 
for the first time that there is nothing of merit dating 
( xxi ) 


so far back even as a year after this holocaust. The 
poetry began suddenly in 1865, when, after a few poems 
of uncertain quality, the true vein was struck, and 
yielded more and more richly till the end.^ 

Our instinctive attitudes towards poetry were very 
dissimilar, he regarded it from the emotional, and 
I from the artistic side ; and he was thus of a much 
intenser poetic temperament than I, for when he began 
to write poetry he would never have written on any 
subject that did not deeply move him, nor would he 
attend to poetry unless it expressed his own emotions ; 
and I, should say that he liked poetry on account of 
the power that it had of exciting his valued emotions, 
and he may perhaps have recognised it as the language 
of faith. What had led me to poetry was the inex- 
haustible satisfaction of form, the magic of speech, 
lying as it seemed to me in the masterly control of 
the material : it was an art which I hoped to learn. 

^ Since writing the above, my correspondence has unexpectedly 
recovered five of these burnt poems, preserved by a friend whom 
he had allowed to copy them. They are altogether immature, 
but their discovery is useful in sparing us any regret for their 
fellows. One of them is given, in a note to poem 6, at the end of 
the volume, because it strongly confirms what I have written 
concerning the relation between the form and the sentiment 
of his poems. 

( X^ ) 


An instinctive lightness was essential, but, given that, 
I did not suppose tiiat the poet's emotions were in 
any way better than mine, nor mine than another's : 
and, though I should not at that time have put it in 
these words, I think that Dolben imagined poetic form 
to be the naive outcome of peculiar personal emotion ; 
just as one imagines in nature the universal mind con- 
quering matter by the urgence of life, — as he himself 

describes it in his ' Core ' : 

Poetry, the hand that wrings 
(Bruised albeit at the strings) 
Music from the soul of things. 

There is a point in art where these two ways merge 

and unite, but in apprenticehood they are opposite 

approaches. The poem whence the three lines are 

quoted, and others — for instance 17, 41, 46, and 49 — 

show complete mastery, but in his earlier work, to 

press his own imagery, the bruised fingers of the learner 

are often what mars the music. And as he began by 

writing ' sentimental trash ' so he sometimes relapsed 

into it. I do not wish to pretend that I was myself 

in those days free from foolish sentimentality, yet he 

always showed his poems to me as artistic not emotional 

efforts, and in so far as I could be of any service to 

him, my criticism was on the right side. 
( zxiii ) 


Any chronicle of Dolben's doings must record both 
folly and extravagance, and I should think it very 
foolish to disguise the characteristics which during his 
life were so apparent to his friends. I know that it 
will seem to some that the portrait might have been 
as well done without so many realistic touches, and 
that the phenomenal aspects are illustrated at the 
expense of his inner hfe of high purpose and devotion : 
but the temper of his spirit cannot be mistaken ; it 
is amply expressed and has its own permanent vntness 
in the poems ; whereas the actual outward appearances 
are exactly what, if I do not give them, can never be 
known ; and it is only the existence of truthful detail 
that can refute the irresponsible hearsay, which by 
natural selection of its spontaneous variations grows 
up at last to a coherent falsehood, — ^like a portrait 
by Macaulay. His imprudent behaviour too, which 
invited such lamentable gossip as I have heard, was 
merely the consequence of his indulging his actual 
feelings and conscientious opinions in contempt of con- 
vention, and in spite of circumstances, — as is often the 
way with a genius. If I have any hesitation, it is only 
where I do not sufficiently remember the facts, the 

actual conduct for instance which drew upon him the 
( xxiv ) 


displeasure of the authorities. That I have forgotten 
so much is a proof that I cannot have thought these 
particular religious offences of great moment ; I will 
describe their nature when their crisis occurred. 

But of the most romantic of all his extravagancies, 
that idealization and adoration of his school-friend, 
which long after they were parted went on developing 
in his maturer poems, I have a better memory. It 
was well known to me in 1863, indeed the burning of 
the poems may have been due to the existence among 
them of poems to ' Archie ' : for Dolben would have 
been almost as reluctant to submit them to me as to 
the eyes of their unwitting object. However that was, 
I cannot surely remember how far I understood the 
situation at the time, and it was not until after his 
death that I knew the fuU measure of his passionate 
attachment, as that must be gauged by the evidence 
of aU the poems. He had however not shrunk from 
speaking openly of it at that date to Coles, whose 
advice in any spiritual dilemma he constantly sought 
or playfully provoked, although, as may be seen in his 
letters, he made a show of resenting it, and would not, 
I believe, have sought it, if he had not reserved to 
himself the Uberty of pretending to scorn it. He also 

( XXV ) 


sent his poems, as fast as he wrote them, to his father, 
who read them, bad and good, aloud to the family 
with genuine pride and admiration : and that he took 
them as he did, and that Digby could rely on his 
doing so, shows, I think, that there was a very great 
natural sympathy and emotional hkeness between them, 
and that Digby may have been conscious of inheriting 
the softness which was so visible in his father's face. 
But, though not one of us would ever have judged 
him by a common standard, nor have sought to drag 
him down from the imaginative heights where he lived 
above us, yet he kept this one sentiment pecuHarly 
apart, and while we looked on it as a fugitive extrava- 
gance, he was doing all that he could to rivet it faster 
and deeper in his soul. 

To understand this ideal affection one must fully 
recognise that its object was not only altogether worthy, 
but a person whom it was difficult not to idolize, if 
one had any tendency that way. Every one who knew 
Manning, whether as he then was at school, or in 
manhood, or in his latest years, or whether, as some 
did, they knew him throughout his life, all without 
exception spoke of him only in terms of love and 
admiration ; nor have I ever met with any one who 
( s^i ) 


knew him well, who would admit that for combined 
grace, amiability and beauty of person and character 
he had an equal. 

As a ' Pusey-ite ' I knew him well, but less intimately 
than did Coles : indeed our occasional meetings had 
generally some musical motive. I never accepted his 
invitation to stay with him in the holidays ; but once, 
when we were both in London, he introduced me to 
his family. He attracted me personally as much as any 
one whom I ever met ; but our hnes and general tastes 
were so differently cast that I looked for no more of 
friendship than our chance juxtaposition occasioned. 
He was a little older and taller than Digby, but 
practically his contemporary, with features of the 
uncharactered type of beauty, the immanent innocence 
of Fra Angelico's angels ; and to have fallen into the 
company of one of those supersensuous beings was 
a delightful privilege. He was of gentle and perfect 
manners, and unusual accomplishments ; and if not 
of intellectual power, yet of great good sense, and with 
a rare combination of extreme scrupulosity with strong 
wiU, — qualities severely tested in a successful public 
service, where, in positions of high trust and responsi- 
bility, he acted firmly and wisely, but none the less 
( xxvii ) 


fretted himself to death with afterthought and fear 
lest he should not have done well. That was his 
idiosyncrasy. He was naturally simple and modest, 
and — at least in his schooldays — ^full of fun, and affec- 
tionately attached to Digby, though he never to the 
last had any suspicion that his friend was making an 
idol of him ; no more than Beatrice had of her identi- 
fication with the Divine Wisdom. 

Not that Dolben's idealization was at all Dantesque : 
— he could never have symbolized Christ as a Gryphon. 
He was readier to turn symbols into flesh than flesh 
into symbols ; and his sacramental ecstasies are of this 
colour. It was his fervid realization of Christ's life 
on earth, his love for Christ's human personality, that 
was the heart and motive of his religious devotion. 
Christ was his friend and his God ; and his perpetual 
vision of the Man of Sorrows calling him out from the 
world could not be so vivid as this actual image of 
living grace that made mortal existence beautiful. The 
human face full of joy came up between him and the 
shadowy divine Face, the ' great eyes deep with ruth ' ; 
and this was the cause of his vain scruples, as it is 
plainly exhibited in the poems. 

Of the exact day and hour when Dolben's Vita 
( xxviii ) 


nuova dawned there is no record, but already in the 
summer of '63 the mutual friendship between him and 
Manning was at its full height, and he already per- 
ceived the vanity of it, foreseeing that Manning was 
destined to go out into the world with the certainty 
of admiration and distinction, while he was pledged 
to renounce the world and all its delights. The 
thought of complete separation overclouded his present 
enjoyment : he even found excuses for making a rule 
of not going to Manning's room ; and when it was 
doubtful whether or no he should return to Eton, he 
showed no anxiety to return, though it was only on 
that condition that he could hope to enjoy his friend's 
society ; and when he did return he recorded his 
indifference. Manning was never at Finedon — nor did 
Digby ever visit Manning's home. His affection was 
of the kind that recognises its imaginative quality, and 
in spite of attraction instinctively shuns the disillusion- 
ment of actual intercourse. In absence it could flourish 
unhindered, and under that condition it flowered pro- 
fusely. But in the summer of '63 it was of full growth, 
nor was anything ever added to it except in his 

Meanwhile the responsible authorities had agreed 
( xxix ) 


among themselves that Eton was an unsuitable resi- 
dence for Dolben. Both John Yonge, his tutor, and 
Thomas Stevens, our Dominie, were men of common- 
sense and protestant convictions, and they were both 
of them fully aware of Dolben's disaffection. He 
crossed himself at meals, and left his queer books about, 
and behaved generally so as to make himself and his 
opinions a ridiculous wonder to the boys, although not 
a word was ever said by any of them in my hearing. 
Dom, as we called Mr. Stevens, had spoken with me 
about him, but I have no recollection of his conversa- 
tions, except that once, in his kind and urgent remon- 
strances with Digby, he invoked the shade of his 
illustrious ancestor the Archbishop. As for Yonge, 
who no doubt consulted with Stevens, there was prob- 
ably a serious correspondence between him and Digby's 
father ; but again of this I know nothing, and no 
record remains. I remember that one of Digby's 
grievances was that Johnny Yonge, — as we called him, 
though Digby with chilling respect always styled him 
John, — made his pupils read Paradise Lost for ' private 
business ' on Sunday. Milton was to Digby as Luther 
to a papist : and if Johnny Yonge had thought to 
engage the plus vates as a surreptitious ally, he must 

( XXX ) 


have been much disappointed, for he only gave Dolben 
an occasion for exhibiting his ecclesiastical contempt. 
It was my surprise at his unreasonable attitude towards 
Milton that has caused me to remember these facts : 
I had been dazed by the magnificence of the first book 
of Paradise Lost, and gave no more heed to its theology 
then than I do now ; and I tried to bring Digby over 
to my artistic point of view. My lot was to spend 
an hour before breakfast on Sunday considering 
Bp. Wordsworth's notes on the Greek Testament ; the 
importance of which was impressed on us by the size 
and cost of his quarto volumes, incomparably bigger 
than any other book that we carried under our arm into 
school ; and I envied Digby a tutor like Johnny Yonge 
with a sound taste in poetry : but I argued in vain. 
Sunday was altogether a field-day for Digby : Sunday- 
questions gave him a grand opportunity of airing his 
mediaeval notions ; and he must have enjoyed exercis- 
ing his malicious ingenuity in dragging them in. He 
had plenty of humour and wit, and was possessed with 
a spirit of mischief as wanton as Shelley's. Quite apart 
from any meaning or value which he may have attached 
to the uncalled-for confession of his faith, he would 

have indulged it merely for a natural delight in what- 
( xxxi ) 


ever was unexpected or out of place, and in the surprise 
and perplexity that he knew it must cause. Our 
behaviour to the Masters in those days was none of 
the best : we found pleasure in provoking them by 
constant petty annoyances. I look back with only 
regret and shame to my share in it, and have welcomed 
the gentler relations that now obtain. Our game of 
being unmanageable had its time-honoured forms and 
limits, but if any original fun could be got out of 
mischievous contravention of rule, the occasion was 
eagerly exploited. There were naturally some whose 
character preserved their manners from being con- 
taminated by this local folly ; and among these Coles 
was one, and Digby should have been another ; he 
had however his own way of making mischief, and the 
annoyance that he purposely caused by his Sunday- 
questions was of a piece with the general fashion of 
the place : his escapades too were of a like nature, and 
owed a great part of their pleasure to their being 
disapproved or forbidden ; if indeed he did not, as 
I have often thought, take pleasure in surprising and 
perplexing himself. Among these things were more 
serious matters, which, since I have no actual memory 

of them, I can have thought of no importance at the 
( xxxii ) 


time. There was, as a matter of fact, an Anglican 
Priory at Ascot, a Lodge of Jesuits at Old Windsor, 
a Roman Catholic chapel at Slough, and at Clewer 
a whole full-fledged high-church establishment under 
Thomas Thellusson Carter, a man of venerable aspect 
corresponding with his ecclesiastical repute and saintly 
life. All these institutions had attracted the pilgrim 
steps of Digby, and to Clewer he had inveigled Man- 
ning, though how it came to be known that he went 
there I cannot guess. I fancy that he sought Carter 
for confession. As for Ascot Priory there is an amusing 
and authentic story, but that is of a later date. Johnny 
Yonge knew about these things, and the crisis seems 
to have arisen from his detecting Dolben in a stolen 
visit to xhe Jesuits. Though the letters prove that 
I knew all about this at the time, yet I had so com- 
pletely forgotten it that, had I trusted to my memory, 
I might have sworn in court that nothing of the sort 
ever happened within my knowledge. The two friends, 
however, who accompanied Dolben on that day, are 
both living and remember every detail of their recep- 
tion by the Jesuits. It must in some way have come 
to the ears of the authorities, and the result was 

a decree that Dolben should leave Eton at Election 
Doi-BEN ( xxxiii ) c 


[July 30] 1863. It was probably due to his father's 
anxiety, though his health may have been made the 
ostensible motive, that he was absent from school 
during the last weeks of the term. He was in London 
on July 1 2th and on Saturday the 13th he went thence 
to Finedon, and his fate must have been determined 
on during this absence from school, as he left behind 
him all his books and chattels, which I packed up and 
despatched after him. I was myself leaving at Election, 
but I stayed on after term was over in order to enter- 
tain my younger brother, who came to spend a few 
days with me, in making excursions on the river, and 
hearing the music at S. George's, where Dr. Elvey had 
allowed me to compile the anthem list for the week, 
so that my brother, who was an enthusiastic musician, 
might hear some of the earlier church music. These 
facts vnll explain the letters which Digby wrote to me 
at that time. The first is from Finedon, probably 
dating August ist. 

A [2 enclosures with 

Bear Bridges *^" •=""•] 

The weather is far too hot for fires, or I would sit 
in the ashes, or in any other suitable manner express my 
penitence for not having written to you before. Indeed it 
( xxxiv ) 


was not chargeable to lack oj time, for my only occupations 
are going to sleep, teaching dirty little boys, and above all 
eating gooseberries ! ! The real reason why I have not 
written before, is that I waited to hear first from, as it 
is always pleasantest to write the second letter, when all 
the news comes from one side. [#,**#] As you are 
going to stay at Eton till the 6th don't you think you could 
manage to come to us for a few days on. your way home. 
It would be very convenient for you, and I should be very 
sorry to miss your visit. We shall not be going till about 
the 12th. Home in anticipation is always delightful, in 
reality a little bit dull, after all the excitement of the 
latter part of my stay at Eton. I have had a very kind 
letter from the Rector. He advises me to wait, etc. etc. 
My looks, thanks I know to your exertions, arrived quite 
safely some time ago. Tell Coles that I by no means 
approve of his conversation with John, my late lamented 
tutor : it was to say the least rather cowardly.^ The 
post is going, though I have much more to say 

ever yours affectionately 

D. Mackworth Dolben. 

Please tvrite and tell me whether you can come. 

After he had written the above, he must have stuffed 
two enclosures into the envelope, in order, I suppose, 
to save himself the trouble of detailing facts. One is 
the letter which he says that he has received from the 

^ Such expressions as this in Dolben's letters are never un- 
friendly : it is the security of good feeling that allows the 
liberties of speech. 

( XXXV ) C 2 


Jesuit Rector. It is so guarded in expression, that 
I have no temptation to violate its privacy. The other 
is a six-page letter to him from Manning, dated Eton, 
July 15th. Manning makes no allusion to Dolben's 
leaving school, but narrates how he had heard from 
me that I had visited Dolben in London and found 
him in a ' melancholy state with the fat poodle and 
the protestant butler ' ; that he had himself been in 
town on the Saturday and Sunday, and would have 
visited Digby if I had not told him that he had already 
left for Finedon. The letter is in a light jocular vein, 
and is mostly concerned with the triumphant recapture 
of some of Digby's contraband books, which had been 
discovered in Manning's room and confiscated by his 
Dame. ... ' She called me back after dinner to-day, 
and asked me about the Romish Popish and Idolatrous 
books. . . . Unhappy Mr. Carter came in for his share 
of the row. . . . She settled to her own satisfaction 
that you were very probably a very good and religious 
boy, but must be rather weak in the head to read such 
trash as the Garden [of the Soul], insinuating that 
I was ditto '. . . etc. The bright local colour justifies 
these extracts. As for the Jesuit, I believe that his 
letter was never answered. 

( xxxvi ) 


I responded to Dolben's invitation, and went for 

a few days to Finedon on my way north, making my 

first acquaintance with his family, and this is fixed in 

my memory. Of his father I retain a very strong 

impression, but the portrait that I should draw would 

be unrecognizable to those who knew him as an active 

country-gentleman, to be found at Northampton or 

Wellingborough two or three days of the week, engaged 

on county committees or more local business. As he 

did not ride to the Pytchley, he had such a reputation 

as a scholar will get in a hunting district : and he must 

have devoted much of his leisure to his fine house and 

to the beautiful garden which under his care had 

grown up about it. What my incorrigible boyhood 

saw was a dignified old gentleman — as I then reckoned 

age — not out of key with my maternal traditions of 

Finedon. His handsome features showed a very tender 

and emotional nature, under the control of habitual 

severity or anxiety, while his gravity of voice and 

manner emphasized that part of him with which I could 

least sympathize. It was my fault, and perhaps due 

to some prejudice, that we never passed beyond the 

first courtesies. 

Mrs. Dolben was a fine example of one of the best 
( xxxvii ) 


types of English culture, the indigenous grace of our 
country-houses, a nature whose indescribable ease and 
compelling charm overrule all contrarieties, and recon- 
cile all differences, with the adjusted and unquestioning 
instinct that not chaos itself could have disconcerted 
or disheartened ; such a paramount harmony of the 
feminine qualities as makes men think women their 
superiors. Besides these personal impressions, the 
picture of the long gabled house in the hot sunshine, 
the gay garden, the avenue in the summer-night, the 
early rambles before breakfast, the fruit and the flowers 
and the family-prayers are the abiding memories of my 
visit. When I left, Digby asked me, I suspect at his 
father's suggestion, to write them a commemorative 
sonnet ; but I had lately outgrown my sentimental 
muse, and acquitted myself by putting some comic 
rhymes together in the train. It is to that which he 
refers in his next letter. 


Dear Bridges + ^""f- ^'^- ^ Laurentii. Di. 

Many thanks for your letter, we all admired the 
sonnet. The rhymes were quite a la Browning. I am 
much distressed about what you say concerning Wales. 
We go on Saturday. I will write again to you as soon 
as we arrive at Penmanmazur. We shall probably not 
( xxxviii "* 


stay there more than a month. Surely you might manage 
to come for some part of that time ? I have heard from 
K. He does not tell me anything I cared to know, and 
not a word about the Rector, whom as yet I have not 
loritten to again. I am trying to convince my people 
that Ruabon is on the whole the most worth seeing place 
in Wales. All however the guide-book says is that ' there 
is a fine marble monument of classic design by Nollekins 
to Sir W. Somebody in the church ' there. I have no 
time, only I wrote, I mean I only wrote, because I thought 
you would think it strange if I didn^t answer your letter, 
ever yours affectionately 
D Mackworth Dolben. 

Digby wrote to me from Wales a letter describing 
tbe difficulty that his party of four had in finding 
suitable lodgings. 


I should have written to you before, but it is not always 
easy to combine letter writing with travelling, and we 
have been travelling almost without intermission since we 
left home, wandering all over N. Wales from hotel to 
hotel in search of lodgings * * [various details, then] * to 
Bangor where we found rooms in an Hotel (?) very, very 
dirty indeed. Here I saw Manning and went for a long 
walk with him on the hills. Also was introduced to his 
father [ • • * ] The next day we went on to Llanberis, 
where again the Hotel-master offered, as before at Llan- 
fair, one small bed. However we got rooms in a cottage 
( xxxix ) 


in the village. Hence we ascended Snowdon, which I en- 
joyed more than I can say. At last we heard of a vacant 
cottage here at Aher, where we came yesterday. Strangely 
enough just outside the gate we met Manning and his 
father [again]. He is coming to sfend the day here some 
time this week. I do wish you would come here, 1 am 
sure you would enjoy the mountains so much, and to me 
a companion would make it perfect. [He then regrets 
that his friend should have met his family for the first 
time under such unfavourable appearances ' hut this is 
very silly '] Please write to me soon [ * # • ] 
ever yours affectionately 

+ D. M. Dolben. 

The next letter is from Finedon in September (?), 
it carries on the history of his return to Eton. 

Dear Bridges 

Many thanks for your letter, which however had 
been expected and hoped for a long time before it arrived. 
Seriously I do wish you would write to me a little oftener. 
It does not matter how short the letter may he, or how 
little there may be to say. As to your questions, it has 
been decided after much deliberation that the College of 
our B, Lady of Eton is the best and most suitable place 
for me. Therefore I am about to return. I cannot tell 
whether I am glad or sorry ; it has taken me altogether 
so much by surprise. My father went down to Eton today, 
saw John, who ' was very glad I had overcome my silly 
fancies ' etc. etc. Of course I shall he very discreet, and 


generally unexceptionable (/ hope) but, alas, who can 
tell ? The frailty of human nature is so great. Isn't it ? 
My last frailty was to go to see a Catholic chapel at 
Bangor, and as a low mass was just beginning, can I be 
blamed if I remained on my knees until it was concluded ? 
I have heard nothing from nor of Coles. I will write to 
you from Eton soon. I cannot hope to find the house very 
pleasant, and many things can never never be as they 
have been, {however I have no wish to he sentimental, 
though I am afraid I have been) I should like to see you, 
writing is of little use. 

ever your off ec friend 
D. Mackworth Dolben. 
[a PS. about photographs omitted.] 

To complete the record of this year 1863, with 
which it is convenient to make a period, since no 
extant poem of Dolben's has so early a date, he was 
during the Michaelmas term at Eton, and I at Oxford. 
I had gone to Eton one day to play in a football match 
against the school ; .the only letter that I have from 
him during this term refers to that visit, its date is 
Nov. 17th. 


In Fest. S. Hugonis 
Eton College. 
My dear Bridges, 

I really feel ashamed to write to you, considering 
how long ago I ought to have done so. I have been busy 
with Trials lately, which may in some small degree go 

for an excuse. I cannot hope to take high since I have 
been away so much?- I am very glad you are coming 
down here again soon, for I will confess to have heen 
a little disappointed in seeing so little of you at your last 
visit. Another thing, though I had heen looking forward 
to your visit for weeks, and thinking how much I should 
have to tell you, when you were here I really could hardly 
think of what to talk about. It is strange. I may perhaps 
he excused being in a rather dismal state of mind tonight, 
for * # * * [here a tale of how one of the young 
Puseyites had got into disgrace, which, though the 
culprit was not a friend of Digby's, had naturally dis- 
tressed him.] * « * / heard from Coles the other day : 
he is coming down here next Friday week. Has he come 
up to Oxford yet F I am going to be confirmed this time. 
John and I get on very well, as I have quite given up 
' Catholic ' Sunday questions, etc. and don't go near Old 
Windsor, or even Clewer. I have no more time now. 
ever your affec friend 

D. Mackworth Dolben. 

This was followed by a letter from home at Christmas 
(VI), in which he says that he has been persuaded by 
his ' S. Barnabas cousin, {such a relation is a real 
treasure^ to join the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacra- 
ment ', and he records a concert at Eton ' where 

^ This refers not only to the end of the summer term, but also 
probably to absence at beginning of Michaelmas term owing to 
his brother's death, mentioned later. At least one letter to me 
must be missing. 



Manning flayed most beautifully ', and then writes of 
his recent confirmation thus. # * * 

The chapel has been lighted with gas. It was lighted 
for the first time the evening before the Confirmation : 
and the chapel was left open all the afternoon. I and 
Coles spent some time there, and the effects of light and 
shade were almost more beautiful than anything I have 
ever seen * * * I liked the Bishop's charge very much. 
There was a little too much ' morality ' or ' manly ' 
Christianity in it * * not exactly ' muscular ' and by 
no means ' catholic '. Tou mention Liddon ; get a print 
of S Bernard (price is.) and see the marvellous resem- 
blance. Read ' Romola ' by George Eliot (as the authoress 
calls herself). Be enthusiastic about Savonarola, I am. 
Read also a new ' Life of Savonarola ' just come out. 
Please write to me again soon, a long letter, ever your 

D. M. Dolben. 

To Digby's family, who were anxious about his 
* romanizing tendencies ', and to all his friends, who 
were concerned in his welfare, his conduct in this 
Michaelmas term was most encouraging. In a con- 
temporary letter Coles wrote, ' Dolben dates his letter 
'Eton College near Windsor {and Old Windsor, and 
' Clewer and Slough), but I can't help thinking that he 

' has been tied down to behave himself.' Indeed he 
( xliii ) 

seemed to be quieting down. Another of his friends, 
with whom he was then most intimate, has described 
him as he was at that time in these words, ' there 
'was developing in him a profound sense of personal 
' unworthiness, which I can only compare to what one 
' reads of Santa Teresa, or Saint John of the Cross ; 
' and I well remember the rigorous fasting with which 
' he prepared himself for his Confirmation and first 
'Communion.' His Anglican confirmation satisfied 
him, and he had exerted himself to make other boys in 
his Dame's house attend seriously to their preparation, 
even assisting them so far as to steal their breakfast- 
rolls away from them, so that they might go to the 
Chapel fasting : a ruse of single-hearted intention ; 
but he could see the humorous side of it, and allow 
one or two of his friends to share his amusement. And 
there are no signs of any poems having been written 
since the holocaust earUer in the year. His letters of 
this date are on black-edged paper, in mourning for 
his eldest brother, William Digby, who was in the 
navy, and had been drowned in crossing the bar at 
Lagos. The mother had felt her loss very heavily, 
and it was arranged for her consolation that the other 

brother, who was also in the navy, should come home 
( xliv ) 


on leave. This is alluded to in the following letter 
written from Finedon in the Christmas vacation. The 
opening sentence must refer to some question of mine 
concerning his poetic silence. 


[Jan. 64.] 
Dear Bridges 

I cannot even excuse myself hy the literary labours 

you suggest for not having written to you ; I can only 

say that your first conjecture is right. Indeed I am in 

too profound a state of vegetation to he capable of much 

animal life at all. This then is my excuse. Many 

thanks for your letter [»•«*] Tou will be glad to hear 

that my brother who is in New Zealand has got leave to 

come home. It will be a great comfort to my Mother. 

I know absolutely nothing about him. Having seen him 

for 4 weeks in 8 years. It is so strange and uncomfortable. 

I look anxiously in the Births, Marriages and Deaths for 

some news of Coles, for I can get none in any other way. 

Have you heard from him lately ? I think he must be 

ill, or else .... Will you do me a great kindness ? 

I hardly think so. Merely to send me a copy of those 

verses of yours called ' '. Purely for my own 

gratification. No one else shall see them if you had rather 

not. [Then a request for a photograph to put into 

a new album, which he describes.] I am to have an 

introduction to Brother Ignatius ^ of Clay don ! ! ! My 

* [Communicated.] The Rev. Joseph Leycester Lyne began 
the observance of the Rule of St. Benedict in the Reformed 


S Barnabas cousin knows him well. When shall I see you 
again ? Your visits to Eton are not satisfactory, would 
that you would come to Finedon at Easter. 

your ever affectionate 
D. Machworth Dolhen. 

I remember that I sent him the verses. The letters 
which he wrote to me in this Lent term were destroyed 
by me because they referred to a comic venture of my 
own, wherein my anonymity was essential : but I saved 
one of them (VIII), probably on account of its opening 
sentence — 

' Never that I can remember have I laughed so im- 
moderately, or broken that part of S. Benedict's rule to 
such a degree.' 

This letter is in good spirits but offers nothing to 
my purpose except this first reference to the rule of 
S. Benedict, and a slight difference in the manner of his 

Church of England, at Claydon in Suffolk, at about i860. He 
took the name of Ignatius, and presided as Abbot over a small 
number of monks and nuns. Later he removed to Llanthony in 
Wales, where a mediaeval Benedictine Abbey had existed. He 
had been ordained deacon for a curacy in the diocese of Exeter 
before he began his monastery, but only received priest's orders 
late in life from a Bishop who derived his consecradon from some 
Eastern source. Father Ignatius was a preacher of remarkable 
eloquence. He received some encouragement from Dr. Pusey, and 
for a short time took a curacy at Margate under Archbishop Tait. 
( xlvi ) 


handwriting, due, it is said, to his imitation of Savona- 
rola's script ; and this change is noteworthy as con- 
firming the date of his earliest extant MS. poems ; for 
it was about this time, or the end of Lent, that he 
returned to poetry. This must, I think, have been 
partly occasioned by his enthusiasm for the O. S. B. : 
as will appear when the poems are examined. I have 
two letters from him during the Easter vacation, and 
the second contains an appeal to me to follow him 
and join the Order : — 


Maunday Thursday 
Finedon [64] 
Dear Bridges 

DonH you wonder that I have the face, or rather 
the hand, to write to you, after the disgraceful way in 
which I have behaved ? I do^-but however if I ever 
am to write to you again I must write a first letter. My 
only excuse is that I have been miserably unwell for the 
last few weeks, and utterly lazy and stupid. I am very 
sorry that we could not come to your sister's wedding. 
I should so have enjoyed seeing you, but my brother has 
just come home, and is only going to stay a few weeks. 
I have not seen him for three years and a half. I am 
more than ever interested in the English 0. S. B. I have 
joined the iij Order, and am B'^ Dominic 0. S. B. iij, 
under which name you are not to direct to me. M'' Stevens 
was much astonished by receiving a letter for me with 
( xlvii ) 

B^ Dom. in the corner. He doubtless thought it personal. 
I will send the Rules in a few days, and I trust that 
you will join the Order. [# • *] The Father Superior 
begged me to come and spend Easter with them, but I am, 
as you may suppose, not let to. I hope to see you early 
in next half, and at Midsummer you must come to 
Finedon. Have you heard that Bp Chapman gave us 
lectures on the Sacramental System of the Church ? Also 
that Manning played the voluntary at S Georges ? Also 
that Walford ^ has made my acquaintance, and writes 
me letters commencing ' My dear Friend ' ? I have been 
reading Liddon's sermons. They are most wonderful, and 
beautiful. I long to hear and see him. To think that 
he was curate here for ever so long, when I was too 
juvenile to appreciate my advantages J I hope to come 
up to Oxford at the end of next term. [ * * * ] Please 
write soon, very soon. [* * *] 

ever your affec 
D. Mackworth Dolben. 

A few days after this came a long letter. 


Dear Bridges 

Many thanks for your letter. I do like long letters, 
and could have put up with it had yours been longer than 
it was. Can you put up with a letter about the O. S. B. ? 
I send you a copy of the Hi Order Rules. — I do most 
heartily wish that you would join it. [. . and here 
follow four pages about the doings of Father Ignatius . . 

' See page dv. 

( Xlviii ) 


' Is it not marvellous F Is it not glorious ? Is it not 
miraculous ?' . . and then a P.S. of interest.] • # « 
At times I almost regret I went back to Eton. I have 
been disappointed in so many ways — and my health gets 
worse and worse in spite of Tonics, beer, wine etc. etc. 
A quiet tutor near Oxford is what I should like. Con- 
tinual ' staying out ' is such waste of time. Tell me if 
you know of such a man — a MODERATE Catholic if 
possible. If I do not get better I certainly cannot stay 
at Eton. ' Oh the bright sweet might have been, bitter 
sweet as the smile of the Virgin Mother to the penitent 

ever your affec 

+ Dominic O.S.B. iij. 

The envelope also enclosed a tract concerning the 
English Order of S. Benedict. My interest in that 
society was Digby's connection with it, which I de- 
plored : and, though I answered him kindly, I do not 
think that to this day I have ever read the little tract, 
and I fear that I did not study the Rules with the 
attention that his devotion in copying them out for 
me should have ensured. I omitted from the last 
letter a rhapsody on the joys of Heaven, transcribed 
verbatim from a letter of Father Ignatius to himself. 
That he could be affected by its commonplace rhetoric 
shows his simplicity of heart and genuine feeling. Such 

words not only left me cold, but even chilled me. It 
DOLBEN ( xlix ) d 


was difficult to take Ignatius as a prophet in touch 
with humanity ; and I knew him only by a carte de 
visite portrait with extravagant tonsure and ostenta- 
tious crucifix. But Digby's father was, no doubt, really 
distressed, and unwittingly supporting his son's folly 
by the seriousness of his opposition. As for Ignatius, 
he was, I suppose, dehghted to have caught a live 
Etonian, while Digby, furnished with a correct habit, 
imagined himself a mediaeval monk. A letter which 
Coles has preserved is in order here. 


[Pen and ink 
monogram of the Finedotl Hall 

Cross with PAX, etc.] 

Dear Coles 

It seems an age since I heard from you, and I do 
want a letter, though I rather think you wrote last. But 
then I have nothing to tell you, and you have all the 
infinite ' delights of Oxford '. I am not well enough to 
go back to Eton yet, hut I am afraid I must go next 
week. I dorCt know what you mean by any work that 
I have done fro Deo, Ecclesid, or anybody else [sic] at 
Eton. I have done absolutely nothing, nothing permanent. 
I positively hate the place. It is full of mental tempta- 
tions that you know nothing of, and you know it is well 
nigh impossible to attain to anything of the Saintly Life 
there. I wrote Walford as civil a letter as I could, and 
begged that he would show both my letters on the subject 



to the Head Master. I trust he mil take no notice, hut 
as my father will go down to Eton with me and see Balston 
I expect there will be a blow-up. I took great pains with 
my letters to W, and said nothing silly or rude. I sent 
Bridges the Tract ' All for Jesus ' and the ' Rules of 
iij Order '. He seemed inclined to join it. I thought 
so at least from a letter I had from him the other day. 
« * * Why, why, do you not join it? [Then an exhorta- 
tion, as to me, to join, because the restoration of the 
religious life can alone save the English Church. * * 
Then about the printing of his ' Prodigal's Introit ' in 
the Union Review. Then] / am finishing some more 
verses called ' The Prodigal's Benediction ', which I hope 
to send him [the Editor^] soon. [Then an appeal for 

* The Editor of the Union Review was the Rev. F. G. Lee, 
D.C.L., a notoriously eccentric high-church clergyman, a Doctor 
of Salamanca. He took the Newdigate verse prize before he had 
passed Smalls, and the Vice-Chancellor, who knew him only as 
a University prizeman, admitted him on supplication to the 
degree of S.C.L., and for that indiscretion was admonished by 
the Proctors. Lee never took any other degree at Oxford, indeed, 
it was said that he never even passed his Little-go ; but he styled 
himself S.C.L. Oxon, until his exertions in promoting the Unity 
of Christendom won him a patron who got his merits more fully 
recognised at Salamanca : whereupon Mr. Lee proceeded, and 
changed his S into a D. This is the story as I have often heard it. 
I do not doubt though I cannot vouch for its truth. F.G.L.,D.C.L., 
edited the Union Review, wherein he published several of Dolben's 
poems. A list of these may be found at the end of this volume 
in the Note to this page of the Memoir [1914]. The above letter 
(xi) is interesting as referring to Dolben's quixotic attempt to 
get Dr. Balston to deplore and amend the secular tone of the 
school. He must have been aware of the ineffectual quality of 
his machinery. He never spoke to me of this. 

( li ) d 2 

subscriptions to the Order, and renewed exhortation 
to join.] / am going hack to Eton next Thursday, not 
to stay there long, I expect, as I am hut little better. 
Will you tell me next time you write of a nice tutor near 

ever your loving friend 
in JESU and S. Benedict 

+ Dominic O. S. B. iij. 

His letters are now for some months signed Dominic ; 
and the brief life of this signature may limit the dura- 
tion of his first enthusiasm ; but he remained faithful 
to the Order much longer than this sign would show. 
His profession in a religious society was, I think, the 
immediate cause of his return to poetry, for towards 
the end of this Lent, and during the Easter vacation, 
and the following weeks, there is a good deal of verse 
to be dated, written under the impulse of the monastic 
motive. Besides a few lyrics (of which I will speak 
later) there are two long poems in blank verse, amount- 
ing altogether to some 400 lines. Very little of all 
these is worthy to be printed with his better work, 
and I have no doubt that I am acting as he would 
have wished in suppressing as much as I do : but the 
suppression makes an account of them desirable, since 

they are evidence of his mental condition at this time. 


The first of them is divided into two sections, called 
respectively ' The Prodigal's Introit ' and ' The Prodi- 
gal's Benediction '. These are the meditations of 
a returned sinner before and after his reconciliation 
in sacramental communion ; and the words, directly 
addressed to the Divine Paternity, are the expression 
of a sincere feeling, and must be interpreted to mean 
that he considered the dedication of himself in the 
Order of S. Benedict as a return to a path that he 
had forsaken. But into what far country had he 
wandered away ? By what riotous living had he quali- 
fied himself as Prodigal Son ? The explanation is 

The early childish loveJor Christ, into which he 
had devotedly poured his whole being, contained neces- 
sarily all the sentiment, the poetry, and the young 
passion of his rich endowments. It was therefore 
inevitable that the strong human affection suddenly 
grown up in his heart, and his consequent recognition 
of a mortal ideal, should appear to his piety as an 
infraction of his love for Christ ; as indeed, owing to 
the heterogeneous nature of that emotion, it actually 
was. This is even explicitly stated by himself in the 
verses ' My love, and once again my love ', where he 
( Hii ) 


begs his friend to measure the greatness of his love 
for him by the fact that he had loved him with the 
love which he had before devoted wholly to Christ, 
and had thus for his sake lost his love of Christ. — This 
then is the Prodigal's sin, from which he now returns, — 
and he no doubt fought the pain and difficulty of 
cutting himself off from the natural attraction of 
human affection by the external artifice of monkish 
profession. The thought, as it was unhappily con- 
ceived, is unsparingly and untruthfully exaggerated : 
and the sacramental mysticism, with its accessories of 
candles and incense, is in keeping with the self- 
imprisonment of the thought. The verse is an undis- 
tinguished example of the fashionable imitations of 
Tennysonian fluency, no better than any of his for- 
gotten imitators* could write : a few selected examples 
will suffice. 

'From the ' Introit '. 

' Thus by the loving touch 
Of thy cool priestly hand restore to me 
The weary years the greedy locust ate. 

• • • • 
That face I buffeted, and from those eyes 
Lightnings will flash, those eyes I spat upon. 
Ah no 1 The fierceness of the noon-day blaze 
Is paled by anguish, and the lightning's flash 
It quenched in streams of blood.' • • • 


From the ' Benediction '. 
' Behold, Eternal Father, from Thy Throne 
The salutary sacrifice complete. 

• • • • 

Peace, peace, the peace of God, that peace is here 
And dwells for ever in these holy walls. 
For here before the altar there is given 
The peace I sought for long and wearily 
Through all the peaceless world and never found, 
Although I ransacked all its richest stores. 
Dreaming the breath of poetry divine 
Could heal my sin-sick soul, dreaming that art 
Could rest these aching eyes, that Nature's voice, 
Conscience, imagination, feeling, sense 
Could help me.' 

The reading of these poems makes one see why 
schoohnasters wish their boys to play games, and one 
is forced to confess that writers, whose books can lead 
a boy of 17 to think in this vein of false fancies and 
aflfected sentimentahty, are as poisonous as simple folk 
hold them to be. 

The second blank-verse poem is called Vocation, and 

is also divided into two parts, the first, ' Vocation b. c. ' 

the second, ' Vocation a. d. ' ; and there is a ' Sequel '. 

It would seem to have been written later than ' The 

Prodigal ', no doubt at Eton during the summer term, 

the Sequel latest of all ; and it is even more closely 

interpretative of his religious dedication. ' Vocation 

B.C.,' — the motive of which is to show how a pagan 


might have had a mystical love of God, analogous to 
a Christian's emotion, — is a strange forecast of his own 
subsequent affinity with Greek thought ; it begins thus 

' I was a shepherd's son, my father lived 
In Delos, half way up the Cynthian height 
Our cottage stood.' 

and the pagan boy tells of his love for Nature, and 
how, attracted to a shrine of Apollo, he had intimations 
of divinity, and he argues 

' If thus divinely fair 
This image, carved in cold unfeeling stone 
What must he be, the living god himself 1 
My whole soul longs to see him as he is 
In all the glory of immortal youth, 
Clothed in white samite.' * 

then with Shelleyian use of a magic boat, he makes 
voyage to Olympos, and after a vision of heaven his 
rhapsody ends with this line, 

' Soon very soon, Apollo, O my love ! ' 

the poem is concluded by a reflection of the narrator ; 
and here is the meaning of the whole, 

' Then was it all a waste that bright young life 
And that long love an idle boyish dream ? 
Or may it not have been that in that hour. 
That bitter hour of most extreme despair, 

^ It is strange to think of Cory copying out this. 


The God of beauty came across the waste 

Tingeing the frozen snow with Royal Blood, 

That Brows crowned not with amaranth but with thorn 

Bent over him,' etc., «tc. 

These verses were much admired by Mr. Mackworth 
Dolben, and in them he received a sign that his son 
was a poet. He was rightly assured, but in the verses 
themselves, however original or precocious they may 
have appeared, there is nothing, except the poet's 
direct method, and instinctive grasp of the matter : 
their very smoothness, which was probably the impos- 
ing quahty, is of no artistic accomplishment ; and 
' Vocation a. d. ' though the subject is near to him, 
and indeed the situation his very own, is no better. 
This section begins thus, 

' I hear Him call — His Voice comes unto me, 
As if a breeze from that warm Eastern shore 
Had blown across the desert waste of time, 
And thawed the bands which this cold century 
Had frozen round my heart,' etc. 

But the third section, the ' Sequel ', is stronger. 
The argument here is in the soliloquy of a monk who 
was tired of the cloister, and longed after pagan joys. 
Now this represents Digby's own situation in what he 
considered his hours of * mental temptation ', which 
became, it may be assumed, more and more frequent, 
( Ivii ) 


and their allurement stronger, as his school-books 
brought him into contact with Greek poetry : and he 
himself distinguished this poem above its fellows by 
carefully revising it ; — there are four different copies. 
Certain freaks of humour in the manner of Browning 
damaged the earlier versions, but these were gradually 
excluded, and other changes made, until the whole 
took the form given below on p. 5. The comparison 
of the beauty of Truth to a vision of distant hiUs had 
full contemporary appreciation. 

Of the group of lyrical poems written between 
Christmas '63 and July '64, the first in his MS. book 
is Homo f actus est, and it is printed the first in this 
collection. This hymn has been the most generally 
known of all the poems. It was much admired by 
William Cory, who copied it ^ and the whole of Voca- 
tion, with the Sis licet felix, and some other early 
poems ; and from his MS. his friends took other copies. 

^ This was after Dolben's death, in the summer of 1868. Mrs. 
Cornish tells me how she then witnessed Wm. Cory's enthusiasm, 
as he appeared at his pupil-room doorway in the Christopher 
Yard, crowquill in hand, and heard him say that the Homo 
factus est was ' better than Newman '. He especially admired 
the S. Michael stanza, and marvelled that it could have been 
written by a schoolboy. Cory's copies were strangely inaccurate : 
an account of them is given in Notes to poem 46. 
( Iviii ) 


The second is a poem of nine stanzas, beginning 
/ love the river as it slides. It has no poetic merit, 
and adds nothing to the better poems. 

The third is a poem of ten stanzas, called My 
Treasury ; the first two stanzas are as follows, 

I dn not think, or ask or fear 

What may the future be, — 
Knowing that neither time nor change 

Can wrest the past from me : 

That treasury of golden days 

Those bright sweet hours that shine 

Like stars amid a gloomy sky 
Must be for ever mine. 

at Stanza 6 it continues thus 

Like the islands of the Blessed 

Where the sunbeams ever glow, 
Where the winter never rages 

And the wild winds never blow. 

So stand those treasury-halls of mine. 

* * • « 

These verses are of no special excellence, — the above 

quotation gives the best of them, — but their sentiment 

is so unexpected, and so unlike the picture which one 

might be led to make of Dolben's mind, that they 

have a peculiar interest : for he here deliberately 

states, in almost prosaic terms, that his past experience 

of human joys is the one solid pleasure of his life, 


a memory which nothing can spoil or darken, and he 
truthfully gives the lie to the false sentimentality of 
the lines quoted from Benediction on p. Iv, Now 
Dolben habitually lived in a world of shifting and 
conflicting dreams and ideals, and in his poetry he so 
very seldom allows himself to appear to rest on what 
may be called the solid satisfactions of life, that one 
is grateful for this definite statement that they could 
and did appeal to him in their full force and signifi- 
cance, and that, in his many-sided nature, their strong- 
hold was unshaken. This stands out now and again 
in the poems, especially in the weU-known lines to 
his mother, and in the many tender references to his 
home-life and friendships, conspicuous among the most 
original beauties : and if this field of emotion is 
generally concealed by the anguish or ecstasy of his 
mental conflict, it should still always be assumed as 
the solid basis of his character ; for beneath all his 
vagaries it made him a reasonable and sympathetic 
companion ; and indeed without it his bright and 
playful humour could not have existed, for that quaUty 
presupposes a wide grasp of humanity. I should be 
inclined to think that it was precisely because these 

' human-hearted ' truths were solid and unquestioned, 


that they did not appeal to him in those days as sub- 
jects for poetry : with his appreciation of Greek art 
they all won poetic aspect, and appear therefore in 
the later poems. In one of which (No. 40) he actually 
remembers his old Treasury and inserts it by name. 
To me, as may be seen, he preferred to show his 
reasonable note, and would apologise for his senti- 
The fourth lyric of 24 lines, 

O Love^ first love, comes gently through the wood. 

reveals, especially in this initial line, the charm which 
was to characterise his best work, but it is poorly 
written and adds nothing to ' Sis licet felix '. I have 
no hesitation in suppressing it. 

The fifth poem of this batch consists of 29 accentual 
hexameters ^ called * His sheaves with him '. It is an 
ecclesiastical view of the Last Judgment, and has some 
connection with the O. S. B. as these lines from it 
will show : 

' Then shall they ask and say " Who is this coming up from the 

desert ? 
And who are these that follow of every nation and country, 

^ I am told that this poem is somewhat closely imitated from 
Dr. Neale's ' Seven Sleepers of Ephesus '. 


Of every people and tongue from the uttermost ends of the wide 

world ? " 
Then shall the answer be, " this is Benedict, Father of Martyrs, 
Father of countless Saints, of Bishops, Confessors, and Virgins. 

etc. . . etc. . . and it ends thus, 

See, he leads them on with songs of triumph Eternal 

Not to an earthly convent, but Shushan, the palace of lilies. 

There to behold the Beloved for ever and ever and ever. 

The sixt and last of these poems is a translation of 
the hymn Amorem sensus. I have set it in the book 
on account of the severity of its style, which, as it is 
rare with him, forbids its exclusion. 

This digression on the early poems has been no 
interruption of the memoir. It shows that this period, 
up to the end of summer 1864, was the apprenticeship 
of his poetry, and it gives an unimpeachable account 
of his state of mind at that time. There is evidence 
first of his simple home-affections ; secondly of his 
religious love for Christ, which he had now thought 
to secure by joining an AngHcan monastic order ; 
thirdly there is the idealization of his friend ; fourthly 
the growing influence of Greek poetry and thought. 
His subsequent history is the strife of these elements, 
as shown in his poetry, itself constituting a fifth 
element : for the full consciousness of poetic power 
( kii ) 

was now awakened in him ; and this gave another 
aspect to all his various moods, because he consciously 
used these with artistic aim as poetic inspiration and 
material ; and whatever mood of his own he chose for 
poetic expression, he subordinates its actual personal 
values to its most forcible representation, and for the 
sake of poetic effect, isolates it and pushes it to its 
extreme. And the mood thus heightened by indul- 
gence must have returned again with greater force 
upon him. Now, although in description we may be 
compelled to separate off emotions and moods, and 
to assort them under different heads, yet we know 
that a human soul or character is not composed in 
this way by mixing, and we do not expect our artificial 
analysis to look like the real thing. But in Dolben's 
poetry the various elements are much more easily per- 
ceived than their harmony ; and his moods may be 
quite fairly considered to be separate forces really at 
strife within him, as his reason consciously indulged 
them one at a time, and thus heightened their dis- 
cordance to a romantic pitch, which became recognised 
by him as itself poetic, and obstinately valued for the 
bitter-sweet of its irreconcilable antinomies. 

The poems just mentioned are the chief record of 
( Ixiii ) 


this summer term. His sister who went down to Eton 
on the fourth of June with some friends, found him 
ill with neuralgia, and spent most of the day sitting 
with him in his room. In July he got leave for the 
Harrow match, but broke parole, and ran off to his 
favourite Priory at Ascot, where the ecclesiastical 
attractions happened to lie thick. He had probably 
heard of his opportunity from his ' Superior ', Ignatius, 
He refers to this escapade in his next letter, and I am 
able to give a nearly contemporaneous record of it 
from one of Coles' letters, in wliich he wrote to me, 

' My Sunday at Eton was most charming. Dolben 
' gave me a full account of his meeting with Father 
' Ignatius and Dr. Pusey. It was at Ascot Priory near 
' Windsor, where Miss Sellon has a convent. . . . 
' Dolben slept in an outhouse with Ignatius, and was 

* wakened by Dr. Pusey " thumping at the door " 
' [Brothers Ignatius and Dominic, he cried, I am wait- 
' ing for you to celebrate the Holy Communion] He 

* said offices with them & Miss Sellon. She gave him 

' a solemn audience, sitting in her chair with her pastoral 

' staff at her side — she is an ordained Abbess. — ^All this 

' took place when he had leave for the Harrow match.' 

To sleep in the outhouse of a nunnery when you 
(kiv ) 


were supposed to be in Chesham Place, and to be 
called in the morning by the great Dr. Pusey himself 
' thumping at the door ', must have been very satis- 
factory to the truant. I do not know how the pro- 
ceedings were actually condoned, — Dr. Pusey may be 
whoUy acquitted of complicity. It was, I suppose, the 
occasion of his admission into the ' Second Order of 
St. Benedict ', and it served, with similar excitements, 
to make his conscience at ease in the Anglican {o\A. 
I have no letter from him before the summer holidays, 
when, apparently in answer to an invitation from me, 
he wrote thus 


Derwent House, PortinscaU. 
Keswick. [Aug. 64] 
+ Pax 

Of your charity pray for the second order of our 
B. Father S. Benedict. 

Dear Bridges 

It has been very wrong of me not to have written 
to you for so long. I am very anxious to see you. I wish 
we could manage — we are at Portingscale, near Keswick, 
in Cumberland. We go back to Finedon about the 
beginning of September, for one of my cousins^ wedding. 
There is nothing that I should like better than to come to 
Rochdale, but I do not see how I can — these holidays — 
that is to say they will not let me. Tou see my brother 



being away, they like to have me with them as much as 
•possible — you will understand. But could you not come 
to Finedon inSeptember. My father andmother would both 
be delighted — and you know my feelings on the subject. 

I have so much to tell you about a certain visit I paid 
to Ascot Priory — where I met my Superior, Miss Sellon 
and D'' Pusey, with whom I spent two delightful days. 
If you are not yet converted to the Father, I flatter 
myself that I shall convert you. Do come if you possibly 
can, and write soon and let me know, though I don't 
deserve it perhaps 

ever yours affectionately 
+ B^ Dominic O. S. B. ij. 

I had hoped that Digby, being in Cumberland, 

would pay me a visit in Lancashire on his way home. 

My journey to Northamptonshire was more difficult 

to bring .about, and we did not meet, as the next 

letters show. 


Flemings Hotel 

Rossthwaite [Aug. 64] 
Pax + 

Of your charity pray for the order 
of our B Father S Benedict. 

Dear Bridges 

I have waited all this time in hopes of moving my 
' stern parients ' resolution, but they will not let me come 
to Rochdale these holidays, declaring that they cannot 
( Ixvi ) 


spare me. I am very sorry, as I had so much looked 
forward to coming to see you, but it cannot he helped. 
Will you not then come to Finedon, as really I must see 
you some time this summer ? Please let me know at once, 
lest your visit should clash with Coles'' , who I hope is 
coming some time in September ! Only, only let me apply 
that little sentence of yours {which I would digest if 
I could) to yourself ' you must come '. / have so much 
to tell you, and ask you, and it seems years since I saw 
you ; [ » * * * ^we shall he back on the ist, do write, 
and tell me when you will come by RETURN OF POST 
{though no one asked to write in that manner ever does) 
[Then the following quotation which he says is worth 
all the rest of the Golden Legend put together"] 

' Alas the world is full of peril ! 

The path that runs through the fairest meads. 

On the sunniest side of the valley, leads 

Into a region bleak and sterile ! 

Alike in the highborn and the lowly 

The will is feeble, and passion strong. 

We cannot sever right from wrong : 

Some falsehood mingles with all truth ; 

Nor is it strange the heart of youth 

Should waver and comprehend hut slowly 

The things that are holy and unholy ! 

But in this sacred and calm retreat 

We are all well and safely shielded 

From winds that blow, and waves that beat. 

From the cold and rain and blighting heat. 

To which the strongest hearts have yielded. 

Here we stand as the virgins seven 

( Ixvii ) 6 2 


For our Celestial Bridegroom yearning : 
Our hearts are lamps for ever burning 
With a steady and unwavering flame, 
Pointing upwards ever the same, 
Steadily upwards towards the Heaven.' 

I have copied these lines lest you should never have 
noticed them. They are such a beautiful description of 
the religious life. ever your affec 

Return of post. + Dominic O. S. B. ij. 

I had gone to Wales, whence I wrote to him as 

this reply shows. 


Finedon Hall 
Dear Bridges [Sept. 3 64] 

Many thanks for your letter. I quite see that I could 
not have had an answer by reiurn of post. I hope you 
enjoyed Wales. Please thank Mr. O — very much for 
me. I wish that I could have accepted his kind invita- 
tion — But what can I do? I am allowed to go absolutely 
nowhere. Give my best love to Coles and Manning when 
you see them. It would have been so delightful if I could 
have come. [* * * *"] As to your coming to Finedon. We 
shall be delighted to see you any day after the 8'*. Tou 
must come for a week, longer if you will. Please write 
soon and tell me what day you will come. Are you not 
made happy by Tennyson's new volume ? It was worth 
all one's long waiting and expectation indeed. Will you 
pardon a little disquisition on the Assumption ? 

[Here follows the disquisition of nearly 4 pages, 
intending to persuade that the body of the Virgin 
( Ixviii ) 


Mary had been taken up uncorrupted into Heaven ; 
and defending himself from Mariolatry, which I pos- 
sibly had imputed to him.] 

I do so look forward to your coming. We will go to 
the old Benedictine Ahbey of Peterbro\ Tell Coles that 
I am sorry he has not managed to come to Finedon, which 
he either cannot or will not do 

ever your affec 
+ Dominic O. S. B. ij 

TennysdHi's volume was Enoch Arden. I remember 
reading it, without all Digby's enthusiasm, in the hot 
sun on a treeless cricket-field waiting for my innings. 

I did not go to Finedon, and he returned to Eton 
for the Michaelmas term, and finally left the school 
at Xmas. I have no record of the date of this term. 
His next letter implies intermediate correspondence : 
it was written from London in December, probably 
on his way home. 


[Dec. 64 
My dear Bridges. 

I do not know whether you have gone down yet, 
hut I send this to Oxford to be forwarded. If you really 
wish me to come to Rochdale I think the only chance of 
their letting me come would be for M'^ Molesworth to 
write to my Mother on the subject. I do not [see] what 
( Ixix ) 


possible excuse there could then be for not letting me go. 
A miserable man has been found in Rutlandshire, named 
Pritchard [sic], of whom the new Bishop of Peterhro' {!) 
has a high opinion, but I shall do all I can not to go to 
him. Coles says that perhaps M'' Urquhart would take 
me, but I am afraid he would be too extreme for my 
father. If I could get to Oxford I should not much care 
who the tutor was. I am at present with F'' Cleaver in 
Gower S'; but go home on Tuesday. Might I come to 
you after Xmas. [here follows an account of some of 
the ecclesiastical attractions of his cousin's connection, 
with a discussion of the practicability of a scheme to 
promote some kind of alliance between Churchmen at 
the different public schools.] 

ever your off D. M. Dolben. 

Do not call me B'' Dominic. It is only Brothers 
O. S. B. who should do so. 

Eton had never agreed with Digby ; he was con- 
stantly ailing, and it was judged that if he was to be 
up to the standard of Balliol scholarship, he must 
spend some months with a private tutor. The diffi- 
culty of finding one who should be acceptable to both 
father and son at once arose, and at intervals recurred : 
but this was a piece of bad luck, for the ' miserable 
man ' who was first chosen soon won Digby's respect 
and affection : he was comfortable with him, and never 

met with an unkinder mishap than when in the follow- 


ing summer Mr. Prichard was compelled by severe 
illness to dismiss all his pupils. Digby's generic con- 
tempt would in his irresponsible chat have been applied 
to any unknown clergyman who had not ' catholic 
views '. But before he went to Constantine Prichard, 
he paid me a visit at Oxford. 


Finedon Hall [Feb. 65] 
Feast of the Purification. 
My dear Bridges 

I am really very sorry not to have written to you 
for such an age. I can assure you that my holidays have 
been as dull as your vacation can possibly have been. 
About Rochdale, I was so much disappointed that I could 
not make up my mind to write to you afterwards. I had 
looked forward very much to making acquaintance with 
your {must I use the word F) ' people ', and most of all 
your brother. Besides there is yourself with whom I think 
I am only acquainted to a certain degree. I am about 
to go to a most dreary tutor, with grey hair, situated in 
the midst of a vast ploughed field, with a young wife, 
one other pupil, and endless Greek grammar. But I have 
got leave first to come up to Oxford for a few days. 
A very ancient individual of the name of White, living 
by herself, is I believe to take me in. If not could I sleep 
at Corpus or Balliol ? Please let me know this. I feel 
rather alarmed at the prospect of my visit in some respects. 
I think I shall come on Monday week, but am not sure 
( Ixxi ) 


[***]. I think it must be fleas ant to he able (like 
Coles) to be continually jubilant over the spread oj 
Catholicity — yet sometimes I feel so tired of it all, which 
is wrong. Will M'' be at Oxford when I come ? I have 
heard so much about him that I want to judge for myself. 
In conclusion let me assure you that you are quite right, 
and that I never can be offended (with you) 

ever your affec' 

D. M. Dolben. 

Of this visit to Oxford I have but a hazy remem- 
brance. He came there to me at my invitation, that 
we might meet at last after all our vain attempts, and 
also to see Oxford — now the favourite ideal home of 
his more immediate and practical hopes, — and to make 
personal acquaintance with the friends of his friends, 
whom he knew only by name. Manning was still at 
Eton, Coles was at Boughrood with De Winton, so 
that, except Muirhead, I was almost his only intimate 
link with the place. That I have no special impression 
of him as he then appeared to me, after a separation 
of sixteen months, shows that he had not changed 
much in the interval ; and we no doubt spent our 
time in matters as familiar to me as they were new to 
him. It was at this visit, and only then, that he met 

Gerard Hopkins : but he must have been a good deal 
( Ixxii ) 


with him, for Gerard conceived a high admiration for 
him, and always spoke of him afterwards with great 
affection. It was understood that he would be coming 
up again later in the term ; but he did not, and his 
next letter to me was from Mr. Prichard's, his private 
tutor, at Luffenham ; whence his maturer poems now 
begin to be dated, and where I had addressed him 
letters at the beginning of the Easter vacation, having 
heard nothing from him. 


S. Luffenham Rectory 
Leicester. [Spring 65. J 
My dear Bridges 

It seems somewhat odd, that from a certain morning 
last February, when I departed from C.C.C. Oxford, 
until yesterday afternoon, I should neither have seen any- 
thing of, nor heard anything from you. I found your 
letters awaiting me here as I have been spending the last 
week in London, where I went to consult the celebrated 
M'' Bowman, for the range of my vision, never very long, 
was getting so rapidly shorter, that I began to be afraid 
that I should never see some pleasant things any more, 
which idea {though universally laughed at) proved to be 
more possible than even I myself had believed. What 
I always thought merely short-sight was something the 
matter with the eyes themselves. However it is hoped 
that it may be stopped. I tell you of these facts {though 
( Ixxiii ) 


certainly not ' circumstances of general interest ') first, 
that you may know how nearly an Establishment, which 
I will not more particularly mention, missed having 
a blind priest. Secondly, because this affair prevented 
my visit to Oxford— for my chance of getting into Balliol 
is so very small, that it was insisted that I should return 
at once to this stronghold of Greek grammar and Euclid. 
But I am determined that nothing shall prevent my 
coming to Rochdale this year, probably in August. This 
sentence, please understand, refers to parental scruples, 
not to my forcing the doors of D'^ MoleswortVs Vicarage, 
as might at first sight appear. I hope the long letter, 
which you could have written but didnH, is still possible. — • 
/ hate to hear the very name of Oxford now there is no 
chance of my seeing it before the Autumn. — but a large 
sheet, such as Coles' mono grammed paper, filled with news 
of that town, would be truly acceptable. However London 
was charming. S. Albans and the Academy most satis- 
factory, not to speak of other more worldly and less 
intellectual enjoyments. Will Coles write to me, or will 
he not ? Ask him. 

ever y''^ affec 

D. Mackworth Dolben. 

In the above letter ' the Establishment which he 

will not more particularly mention ' is the first allusion 

to a Brotherhood, or the scheme of a Brotherhood, 

among himself and his friends ; and this, as will appear 

in other letters, was to him a very real prospect. My 

memories of it are conflicting, but I will put them 
( Ixxiv ) 


together here. The essence of this brotherhood was, 
of course, nothing more than the natural projection 
into the future of the present conditions of friendship 
and rehgious conviction already binding us together. 
In so far as it was in any sense a deliberate scheme or 
plan, it no doubt appealed with different force to each 
one of us. It was, I suppose, the same sort of idea 
that had grown up between Wm. Morris and his 
friends, ten years earlier, at Oxford. For myself I can 
say that the only definite plan of the kind which had 
seriously influenced me, was an understanding between 
my younger brother and myself that we would always 
live together ; and such was our affection that I think 
now that nothing but his early death could have pre- 
vented its realization : and it is possible that Digby 
found a promise of stability in this to serve as a nucleus 
for his much wider projects. Whether that were so 
or not, he had built up with varying detail a very 
active and desirable society, of which I might remember 
more had I looked forward to it more confidently. 
He was to decide everything, and I, who was to be 
the head of the community, could never of course 
disagree with him. These castles or monasteries in 

the air were a source of pleasure to him, and he would 
( Ixxv ) 


even choose their sites. For though it was plain there 
could be but one, yet the charm of the future lies in 
its indefinite possibilities, and there were at different 
times a good many : Finedon HaU itself could not 
escape. I remember very well, as we sat one day 
chatting together in his little room at Stevens', he 
began scheming how, like St. Gregory, he would make 
a monastery of his father's house, if ever it should fall 
into this possession. So he would rejoice openly if any 
of the ' Brothers ' had prospects of wealth ; it added 
to the many mansions of his ideal establishment. How 
far others shared in these dreams I cannot say, but 
there exists a pre-rafaelite painting made by one of 
them of the ' Foundation of Eton College ', wherein, 
on a fair and flowery water-mead, the attendant wit- 
nesses are the patron or name-saints of some of the 
future brothers of this society, for which Dolben had 
already invented a title.'^ He and Coles and I are all 
there, under that disguise, with the orthodox habits 
and emblems. 

As for his eyesight. Bowman's treatment seems to 
have been successful, for I do not think that he ever 
had further need to consult him. 

* This is given in the dating of letter xx and in xxij, 

( bcxvi ) 


After this Lent term at Luffenham, he went again 
with his family to the lakes, whence his next letter is 
dated. Gerard HopkinSj whom I had invited to Roch- 
dale with him, replied that he could not come, adding, 
' else nothing could have been so delightful as to meet 
you and Coles and Dolben [* * ] I have written letters 
without end to the latter without a whiff of answer.' 


The Tourists Hotel 

Cumberland [Aug 65] 
My dear Bridges 

I repeat with sorrow ' Rossthwaite Cumberland '. 
I certainly ought to have written to you, but I have been 
going about so much that I do not think I ever got your 
last letter. They would not let me come to Rochdale on 
my way here, but I may go when we return, but, but 
that will be at the beginning of September. I could come 
to you any day from the 8'* till the 12"*. I do hope this 
will do for you. I should like to have seen Coles for some 
things very much, but it was quite impossible for me to 
come about his time. I am afraid I remember something 
you said about going away in September, hut perhaps you 
may have changed, and it may be possible for me to come 
after all. perhaps if you would believe, could rather know, 
how very much I have desired to come you would try and 
make it possible. I know nothing about why or where 
you are going, but could you not go first and come back 
( Ixxvii ) 


afterwards P Instead of going [erasure] / mean to say 
now. I am so sorry that your Bradshaw extracts are of 
no use to me. I cannot write a letter — having travelled 
9 hours yesterday. But do write and let me know just 
whether after all you can have me. A servant has just 
entered with Coles' letter. I appealed to my father in 
despair when I got it whether Rochdale was very far off. 
He was just going out, but I think, I trust, I shall he 
able to write tomorrow to say that I am coming in two 
or three days. It is a great pity so much fuss is necessary, 
and very abstird 

yours with a bad headache 
hut hopefully 
Love to Coles. D. M. D. 

The ensuing letter does not exist ; but it must have 
been shortly after this last that he paid his first and 
only visit to Rochdale. In his delightful companion- 
ship the few days passed quickly, and as we were alone 
I had much talk with him. I remember especially 
his modest surprise and genuine pleasure at my en- 
thusiastic praise of his poetry, for he was not satisfied 
with his own artistry, and did not expect me to be. 
But there was more than promise in the beauty of 
his best work. He told me about his life at Luffen- 
ham enough to give me a very favourable idea of 
Mr. Prichard, and a definite picture of his personality 
which I retain to this day. He had won Digby's 

esteem, and, when such a relation was established, 
( Ixxviii ) 


Digby's natural sympathies would reconcile him to 
the limitations and inevitable commonplaces of a small 
country circle. It was evident too that his tutor 
treated him with great tenderness and skill : he met 
his mediaevalism with courteous complaisance, and 
never troubled him with displeasure or opposition ; 
but when occasion offered would gently state his own 
attitude, and then, if Digby accepted the challenge, he 
would advance his reasons. When it came to argument 
Digby confessed to me that he found him unanswer- 
able ; and I saw that his dogmatic confidence had 
received a shock. For minds nurtured from childhood 
in unquestioning submission to a system of religious 
dogma it is very difficult to break sufficiently away 
from their position to see the fuU bearing and breadth 
of the philosophic objections ; and this step Prichard 
had led Digby to take. He now saw that his logical 
position was indefensible, or, at least, that he was not 
sufficiently armed to defend it. Something had to be 
shifted, and he did not know what. 

Now I rejoiced at this, for I had an unconquer- 
able repugnance to the fuU-blown Roman theology, 
whither, as I feared, Digby was drifting ; and in those 

talks with him I made also the same step that he had 
( Ixzix ) 


made ; and if I might not perceive the full significance 
at the time, yet I know the very spot in the garden 
where we were walking when I saw certain familiar 
ideas in a new light. The exact tone seems to me to 
be perfectly caught and fixed in the magical simplicity 
of his half-suppressed utterance 

Suppose it but a fancy that it groaned, 
This dear Creation. 

Looking back now to those days I see what a disaster 
it was that at that moment Mr. Prichard was lying ill 
with pneumonia, and sending a notice to Mr. Mack- 
worth Dolben that he would be unable to continue 
the tuition of his son. 

That was the news in store for Digby when he 
returned to Cumberland, and he immediately wrote 
to my mother, who had meanwhile gone into Suffolk, 
asking her if she would have any objection to his 
joining my brother in Yorkshire, if my brother's tutor 
would take him. The question foresaw the objection, 
and my step-father dictated a judicious reply, which 
my mother sent to Digby, very kindly but firmly 
pointing out that they feared his influence on a some- 
what predisposed character ; — she did not wish her 

son to become a Papist. This letter, until its true 
( Ixxx ) 


provenance was revealed, distressed Digby, who was 
on aifectionate natural terms with my mother, and he 
made a bold effort to turn it, with promises of discreet 
behaviour ; ^ but the objection could not be obviated 
by assurances of intention, and the scheme was aban- 
doned, whether on the plea also of other difficulties, 
which certainly existed, or only for this one, I do not 
remember. Digby was thus again searching the world 
for a tutor. He took me into counsel, and his next 
letters are all concerned with these affairs. If I give 
more of them than their interest would seem to justify, 
it is because, no other letters of his having been pre- 
served, they provide the only actual contact now 


Governor's House 

Keswick [Sept i8 (?) 65] 
My dear Bridges 

Under the circumstances I should like to call you 
Father Robert, as I write to you for a little assistance 
and direction, such as it will one day he your duty to 
afford me, and which now I hope you will give me for 
kindness sake. My Prichard has been, and is still, so ill 
from a fresh attack of inflammation of the lungs, as to 
render it impossible for me to go back to him at present. 

^ Passages omitted from letters. 

DOLBEN ( Ixxxi ) f 


and as time is so important, if I am ever to get into 
Balliol, my father thinks it better that I should, go to 
another tut-or. Of course the difficulty was to find one 
in a sufficiently healthy and bracing locality. Then it 
occurred to me that perhaps it w^ be possible for ilf Walker 
to take me, and. the situation of Filey seemed as if it 
would he so good for me. I wrote to M''" Molesworth 
asking her to tell me whether she thought I should be able 
to go there, and received the letter which I send you. It 
is most kind, and I can quite understand how it is that 
she should think and feel as she does. Nevertheless it 
distressed me considerably. [**»*] Moreover for the 
present I do wish to live as much as may be as a Catholic, 
and leave talking for those who know more— for the 
present. [»**#] Please do not think that I consider 
myself a Martyr, for my reasons for wishing to go to 
Filey were entirely selfish. I certainly do feel sometimes 
the want of some one to sympathise with me and help 
me a little — for my people look on such things as these 
almost with satisfaction — they must show me the great 
disadvantage of ' extreme views ', however ' Veritas est 
magna '. [****]/ hope you will understarJ, distinctly 
that I think your mother {to whom I am most grateful 
for her great kindness to me) has done quite right according 
to her view of the subject. It is of course unpleasant, but 
that is no one^s fault. I am not and cannot be sorry for 
anything outwardly Catholic which I have done, though 
I do repent most sincerely of going to R. C. Chapels and 
services, when at Eton — but that is long ago now. Still 
it is right that I should be punished for it. And now 
I cannot tell whether you will think well to tell your 
( Ixxxii ) 


mother what I have said, as to promising etc. ... 7 only 
wish you to do as you think will he best, hut of course if 
it could he arranged for me to go to Filey I should he 
very glad. I am sorry to hother you with such a long 
piece of work all about myself. I send you some verses, 
as you were kind enough to wish for them. I send these 
particular ones partly because something you said at 
Rochdale reminded me of them. If possible I hope you 
will write soon. Thanking you for my very pleasant visit 
to Rochdale believe me 

ever y^ affec 

D. M. D. 


Finedon Hall 

[Sept. 6s] 

(P.S. A week with X . 

X. will he very rich — And so 
shall the Canons and Brothers 
of the Holy Name) 
My dear Bridges. 

Thank you for your letter, which was very satis- 
factory to me. I confess that, though the letter I sent 
you 1 was very kindly worded, I did perceive a difference 
in it when comparing it in my mind with the other letters 
of your mother — to my mother and myself, not only in 
sentiment hut also in style and expression — a comparison 
not favourable to the document in your possession. I could 
wish that I had written to you first, for as you think 
I had better not go to Af W., all this has been useless. 
But if you could find me a good tutor both my father and 

'^ Dr. Molesworth's. 

( Ixxxiii ) f 2 


I would he very grateful. He is fortunately of opinion 
that confidence may he placed in your judgement — an 
idea which I quite coincided in. I do not think that he 
would care what his ' views ' were, provided he was really 
a good tutor. For myself I should not like to go to 
a thorough protestant — except this I don't mind. An- 
tagonism is all very well for a time — and perhaps to 
strong-minded people may he a real help, hut I am utterly 
tired of it, and would like a man who would let me alone. 
Moreover if is somewhat sad to find 07ie self differing more 
and more entirely from all one's relations in every religious 
thought and feeling. 

To go hack to the tutor. The great point is that he 
should he found at once. / go up to matriculate this 
November year — so that I should he more than a year 
with him. It certainly would not do to have one at home. 
If he were near Oxford I should like it — or on the sea. 
In Oxford would not do. If you could hear of one and 
write back to jne quickly it would be very kind. The 
money would not matter — My father does not mind ^£200 
— and I suppose few tutors are much more. If none can 
he found I perhaps may try going to De Winton's. hut 
there seem reasons against it — that is, one of his pupils 
(* * hy name) I used to know very well, and do not wish 
to he with. And now my dear Father R. it is entirely 
left to you, and I feel it is a natural state of things — 
a good omen for the future. [# • *] / go to L's on Friday 
so if you write after then direct [there^. 

What do you mean ahout ' crossings '.^ Do you think 

^ I had probably suggested that this had been a cause of 

( Ixxxiv ) 


it would, he best to give them uf in protestant society ? 
Please let me know. I am uncertain. I hope you will 
write soon. I heard from Coles the other day. He is 
distressed as to his father's living — thinks it would be 
wrong for him to take it. But as the Rev Gentleman is 
in good health, this seems an unnecessary anxiety for the 
present. He will never do for us, I think. ^ 

ever your affec D. M. D. 
PS Tour letter did me a great deal of good. 

The next is in pencil on a scrap of paper. 

My dear Bridges 

One line to ask you to write to Finedon. My visits 
are postponed, I being in bed in a dark room, fed on 
grapes and tea. a sort of feverish attack. Please write 
soon. Read this if you can and excuse it. ever your 
afec DUD 


Finedon Sept 30 [65] 
My dear Bridges 

Much against the advice of the Doctor, and the will 
of my Mother, I have believed myself able to write 
a letter, and have desired a large fire, and partially 
dressed myself to sit by it. but after having been for 
a week in a dark room you must not expect my wits to 

' This tilt at Coles' prudence is characteristic. He remembers 
it to make retractation in a subsequent letter, 'us' is of course the 

( Ixxxv ) 


he very brilliant. I got your letter forwarded from L. 
this afternoon, why it did not come sooner I cannot say. 
As to the tutors M'' P sounds well. I think my father 
will write. Perhaps after all De Winton will he my 
fate. Tor my fart N . .^ sounds nice to me, hut if he 
cannot teach of course it would not do. I must thank 
you for having taken so much trouble. At the same time 
if you would write again giving a few more particulars 
about N. which I could show to my father, I sh'^ be glad. 
To tell you all about it — there are more important things 
in this world than getting into Balliol even, and indeed 
there is a place into which we hope to get some day — - 
which needs harder preparation than Oxford, and is well 
worth all we can give it. Now to go down to Hereford, 
and remain there a year, with a tutor such as De Winton, 
and a companion at any rate not Catholic — without 
a Confessor, without any means of 'more than monthly 
Communion, without (must I use it) any ' Catholic advan- 
tages ', this may be a good way to get into Balliol, hut 
not, I think, into Heaven. If I were near Oxford all 
this would be avoided, therefore if N and V between 
them could teach me, I should prefer it to any one 

I am surprised at your liking my U. R. verses. They 
were written more than a year ago. The want of con- 
centration or anything like power is painful, [a passage 
concerning a fellow-contributor to the U. R.] I send 
or will send you (for I am not sure if I can write them 
to-day) two little pieces of secular verse, selected {out of 
a mass of religious and sentimental trash in rhyme by 

^ N. a high-church clergyman near Oxford. 
( Ixxxvi ) 


me) hy Jean Ingelow ^ — which lady, with whom we have 
picked up an acquaintance, was kind enough to look over 
my verses J / / in justice to her there was a selection 
made beforehand — and these are to he printed somewhere 
or other. V erse -writing is a vanity, I think — notwith- 
standing it is very kind of you to ask to see more of mine. 
[* * an ecclesiastical paragraph *] These sentiments if 
not original are really very orthodox. What did F'' Nihill 
ask about me ? F'' Ignatius, I suppose you know is 
better — but his life was despaired of at one time. The 
Monastery is governed by an Etonian : N. . . ., now 
B^ Placidus, is all in all to them now. I do hope and 
think that his vocation will prove to be a real one. In 
a few years perhaps the names of Monk and Etonian may 
not seem so far apart as they do now. Coles shall not 
be excluded from the Monastery {of which you speak 
irreverently) but how and where could Miss be ad- 
mitted? Her only hope would be a Platonic affection, 
on the model of S Jerome and S Paula, under the black 
habit of a Canoness O. S. N.^ I wish you could get me 
a little money for the Monastery chapel at Norwich. It 
will really be disgraceful if the work has to be given up, — 
now the walls are half-built — and I think it would be 
a very good thing for the Cause if it were finished by 
the time of the Congress, for all the clergy will assuredly 
visit the Monks. Coles has sent me f\. but nobody else 
thinks they have anything which they could give. It is 

Miss Ingelow's poems had at that time considerable vogue. 
The notes of admiration just below are not, I think, marks of 

2 These Latin initials are translated in the dating of letter XX. 

( Ixxxvii ) 


very odd. and my own resources are in a had way. and 
the Rev Mother Hilda writes touching letters to her dear 
B^ Dominic, and B'' Dominic writes still more touching 
letters to Mother Hilda — stating that he is her servant 
and her brother, hut no money comes of it. I wish you 
would write again directly and say something favourable 

ahout N. I want to do something for as he will 

also have to leave ikf Pritchard. 

' Shall we come out of it all, some day, as one does from 

a tunnel ? 
Will it he all at once, without our doing or asking. 
We shall behold clear day, and the trees and meadows 

ahout us 
And the faces of friends, and the eyes we loved looking 

at us — 
Who knows ? Who can say ? It will not do to suppose it.' 
These make up for the whole correspondence of Georginas 
and Marys, and all the other trash contained in Poems 
by A. H. C. But will it not do to suppose it ? 

ever your affec 

D. M. D. 


Finedon Sunday 
My dear Bridges 

It has been so good of you to take so much trouble 
ahout tutors for me. I really hope that I am to go to 
ilf N. My father went to see M'' Pindar first who was 
at Bath, but he afterwards wrote to say that his examining 
work was so great that he could not take me with proper 
conscience. If my father goes to see M' N. I am afraid 
the cassock will he fatal. I trust he does not always 
( Ixxxviii ) 


wear it. I should have written to you before, but that 
I have not been quite so well again. Should, I like this 
H. V. .? It would he a great objection if he turned 
out unpleasant. However I am in for it now — my father 
writes tomorrow. One more thing I must ask you to find 
out {that is if I go to Af N) whether he can take two 

more -pupils, and . I fancied that he was 

anxious to get as many as he could. I am afraid that 
I must not write any more for my head^s sake. Thanking 
you again 

ever y^ affec 


Sunday [Nov. 65] 
My dear Bridges 

My relatives being at Church, having left me nothing 
but Breviary, dog, beef-tea, medecine, and thoughts, I 
must write to you with such pen and paper as I can find. 
I cannot accuse myself of not remembering your birthday ^, 
since I never heard of its date until this morning when 
I received your letter — nor can I wish you ' many happy 
returns of the day ', which is a custom I object to. but 
I do most sincerely wish you as many returns as may be 
well — saying nothing of happiness, i** because the wish- 
ing neither brings it, or keeps it away either, {which in 
21 years you have doubtless found out, since I have in 
17I) 2"** because happy people are apt to forget something 
about the prince of this world, and perhaps find it out 
too late, adding only a hope that in four years I may 

^ Nor can I have reproached Iiim. It was probably my telling 
him of my ' coming of age ' that provoked this sad account of 
' happiness '. 

( Ixxxix ) 


receive your blessing. Tou were very welcome to see my 
verses, though I certainly should, not have selected them 
to show you. Did Coles or Hopkins give them you. 
and why ? Please remember to tell me. I will read 
/)'■ Pusey's book. I am glad * » * is considered healthy, 
but am much afraid lest my father will not like M'' N. 
even though the cassock may not appear, other things may 
•prevent my going, however I hope for the best. I am 
getting well very slowly, since you ask. 

ever y^ affec D. M. D. 

/ am afraid all hope is over, for my father has just 
settled to call on D'' Lightfoot, to enquire about M'' N. 
before seeing him. 

These particular incommodities are not worth sort- 
ing out. It is enough to say that Mr. N., who was 
recommended to me by a college tutor, was certainly 
too high-church and probably not a sufficiently good 
scholar to please Mr. Dolben. Canon Liddon was 
hunting with me. What strikes one most is the total 
want of communication between demand and supply. 
The Committee of Appointments was not founded in 
Oxford until 1 892, and now any conditions are quickly 
suited. The result in Digby's case was that a tutor 
was selected with whom he was so uncomfortable that 
he jerosjijed with him for only one term. The next 

letter is from this new tutor's residence in Lincoln- 
shire. Its opening sentences are paradoxical. 


[undated, Nov 25 (?) 1865] . 
My dear Bridges, 

I really have very little to say, and feel more inclined 

to apologize for writing now than for not having written 

before. But really I want a letter from you. it being 

a very long time since I heard. It is my first evening at 



which direction please soon make use of. I had dreaded 
foolishly but inexpressibly going among these utter 

strangers, and M'' and M'* and the one other pupil 

were continually presenting themselves to my mind in all 
kinds of distressing forms. However the realities might 
be worse, though also Oh how much better. Still I mean 
to be very contented. I have seldom had a greater dis- 
appointment than my father's decision as to Af N. How 
to spend a year here I cannot think. Pity me. I should 
not mind even being called ' Poor child ', It would be 
reasonable now. As to Oxford I don't expect ever to see 
it, or anybody belonging to it, till I matriculate — Lincoln 
Minster is glorious — but of all the miserable men that 
these last days produce is not the jocose verger the most 
revolting ? What can be the reason that Protestants build 
new Cathedrals as they do in the Colonies ? since they 
have absolutely no use for them. I saw Chapel after 
Chapel which are never entered from one year's end to 
( sci ) 


another. I saw the anointed Altar-stones put as paving- 
stones near the doors that all might tread on them : the 
ruins of shrines innumerable in honour of Saints whose 
relics were thrown away by order of Henry VIII. On 
the whole a visit to an English Cathedral is not a pleasure. 
Little S. Hugh, the boy Martyr, still lies under the 
remains of his shrine. Might we not in our Monastery 
have a shrine in honour of the boy Martyrs of the Church, 
S.S. Pancras, William and Hugh ? And the choristers, 
oblates and little monks should be taught to love them as 
Catholic boys of all ages have done. I don't know how 
I should get on but for the thought of the O. S. N. I know, 
I cannot help feeling sure that it will not come to nothing. 
I beg of your charity that you will write. Tour letters 
always do me good. One must look on the future, and 
not back to the past 

ever y^ affec 
D. M. D. 

After this there is a gap of eight months in the 

series of Dolben's letters to me. My younger brother 

died in Feb. 1866, and among the miscellaneous letters 

that I have kept I have none that makes any reference 

to that event, which plunged me into deep sorrow at 

the time, and considerably altered the hopes and 

prospects of my life. All letters written to me both 

immediately before and for months after seem to have 

shared the same fate, whatever it was ; so that there 

is no actual written record of these eight months ; and 
( xcii ) 


Dolben's history depends on the recollection of friends 
who were with him at that time, and on the dating of the 
poems, which are now frequent and often full of beauty. 
Dolben remained but one term with this tutor in 
Lincolnshire, and after Easter, in spite of his insuper- 
able prejudice was sent to De Winton at Boughrood 
in Radnorshire. The event in a manner justified his 
prejudice, for tutor and pupil were too utterly incon- 
gruous to profit by association. Henry De Winton 
was a firsdrate scholar and a good teacher, with such 
an active habit of mind that a country living would 
have been intolerable to him had he not contrived 
opportunities for exercising his talent. He therefore 
took as many pupils as he could accommodate ; and if 
he was really happy only with advanced and promising 
scholars, and naturally grudged the wasteful expendi- 
ture of his ability on pass-men, some of them felt the 
distinction which he could not altogether disguise. 
His pupils were treated as members of his family, itself 
a small community, and all testify to his kindness, to 
his skill and pains in teaching, and to his enthusiasm 
for the best classical Hterature. He was abo a keen 
sportsman. The present Provost of Eton, Dr. Warre, 

who as an old pupil speaks of him with gratitude and 
( xciii ) 


affection, and could equally enjoy work and play, has, 
among many lively recollections of the river, one 
sporting story, vifhich, told in his own words, will give 
a picture of the place. ' One evening (says the Provost) 
we had seen a big fish rising in the pool close by the 
house, and De Winton said the time to catch him 
would be in the morning just as it was getting light. 
Next morning, about five o'clock, an indescribable 
howling mixed itself with my dreams, and there dawned 
upon my half-awakened mind a vision of salmon, and 
the sound of a far-off cry Warre, bring the gaff! Need- 
less to say, I was out of bed at once, and just as I was, 
barefooted in my nightshirt, rushed out over the rocks 
to the catch. It was a bitterly cold morning, cold 
enough to prevent my ever forgetting our triumph.' 
With such exhilarating incidents, plenty of freedom, 
and no more severity than is inseparable from gram- 
matical study, the Rectory must have been a model 
establishment of its kind ; while the host's conven- 
tional orthodoxy and perhaps rather irritable manner — 
for which there is some evidence — were matters of no 
moment. It is plain that to such a man Digby must 
have seemed a most undesirable pupil ; for his scholar- 
ship was not sufficiently advanced to be of interest, 
( xciv ) 


while he was full of notions which De Winton must 
have regarded as an unreasonable annoyance and dis- 
traction. ' What is the riXos of it all ? ' he would 
murmur : ' The reAos, the re'Aoy, I ask. What is the 
re'\os ? ' If the disadvantages of their mutual incom- 
patibility be balanced, one side against the other, no 
one would judge that De Winton had the best of the 
bargain. In any case Dolben was glad to escape from 
Lincolnshire, where he was actually unhappy, and his 
new fellow-pupils were both socially and intellectually 
good company. Their mixed society he met without 
discomposure : as one of them testified very happily 
in these words, ' Dolben was a really good fellow, and 
took being laughed at by the others ever so well.' It 
was in such surroundings that he wrote the most oi 
his best poems. 

To attend now to the evidence of these poems : — 
while Dolben's mediaevalism remained unshaken, and 
was alienating him more and more from the Church 
of England, the progress of his acquaintance with 
Greek thought was building up in him a pagan idea 
of beauty, which, though it was mainly if not entirely 
aesthetic and artistic, was conquering his mind : and 

he could keep these two ideals quite apart. Some of 
( xcv ) 


the poems are in purely mediaeval sentiment, others are 
purely pagan, untouched by any Christian influence. 
Both ideals were felt in their full force, and as his art 
developed them separately in the poems their antagon- 
ism became more active, and the victory, though it 
was not at all times fully assured, lay with Christianity. 
It thus followed most naturally, — from the previous 
leaning of his ideas, and from their present develop- 
ment, — that the earthly ideal of his human affection, 
which had at first invaded the peace of his religious 
life, came to be associated with his perfected pagan 
ideal, and to be considered (at least for poetic purposes) 
as pagan in essence, and therefore of the nature of 
sin ; and so we find it in the poems at one time 
revelled in as aesthetic paganism, at another repudiated 
as spiritual disorder : and he even goes so far as to 
implicate his friend in these fantastic meshes, and, in 
a poem which in places recalls the frenzied stanzas of 
Sir Eustace Grey, he exhorts his friend to Repent with 
him. This must, no doubt, be taken for a somewhat 
dramatic exhortation to adopt the religious profession, 
as the only salvation in a world where happiness was 
a snare of the Devil,^ yet, even so, the extravagance is 

1 See letter XXIV. 
( xcvi ) 


inconceivable, and except as poetic imagination it is 
insincere : for not only were these religious exhorta- 
tions to his friend never intended for his eye or ear, — ■ 
which destroys their sincerity — but it is certain that 
he had never ventured to show him even the earlier 
sentimental verses written in his praise. Manning had 
never any notion that Digby indulged in all this trouble 
and passion on his behalf, and after Digby's death was 
among those who were first to urge that the poems 
should be pubhshed. He was not much of a judge of 
poetry, but he was a firm and affectionate believer in 
Dolben's genius ; he knew his early religious verses, and 
had been seriously influenced by him to embrace the 
logical consequences of his mediaeval creed. Though 
in ordinary society he passed for a born artist, yet 
he had not the artist's profound insight, and lacked 
appreciation of the severer excellences. His instinctive 
taste, which was fine and cultivated, was for the 
slighter forms of art, grace, brightness and pleasant 
lucidity. He would never have understood the absorb- 
ing devotion of Dolben's passion, on whatsoever it 
might be directed : the strange strife of his friend's 
emotions would, except as a note of genius, have had 

little meaning for him. If these facts be considered, 
DOLBEN ( xcvii ) g 


the poetry which Dolben wrote to describe those 
emotions cannot escape the reproach of courting mis- 
representation. It is indefensible : but it should be 
remembered that he would not himself have defended 
it. He would over-indulge the poetic sentiment of 
the moment, and afterwards condemn the extrava- 
gance. He would often laugh at himself (his sister 
wrote to me of him) ' as if he saw that his poetry had 
got out of hand '. And the fault is reaUy a faiUng 
in his artistry. Just as a philosopher, when he has 
chosen his premisses wiU argue out his system to con- 
clusions altogether at variance with his convictions, so 
an artist in developing his conceptions may perplex 
his intention, and be led into extravagant and unpre- 
meditated positions. When Dolben went to Bough- 
rood he was just eighteen years old, and I should say — 
though I do not wish to anticipate the estimate of 
his genius — that the poems which he now began to 
produce wiU compare with, if they do not as I believe 
excel, anything that was ever written by any English 
poet at his age ; and the work is not only of rare 
promise but occasionally of the rarest attainment, and 
its beauties are original. If then we find the perplexity 

of his ideas sometimes leading him astray, this is 
( xcviii ) 


nothing to wonder at, and there is no place for re- 
proach. The late poem ' Dum agonizatur ' is a full 
illustration of his perplexities. 

But of his Greek sympathies he showed little or 
nothing to his comrades at Boughrood ; to them he 
appeared as a monk, and there are only such memories 
to record of him. Two of his fellow-pupils have sent 
me their recollections of him, and allow me to quote 
their own words. The first, to whom poem 37 was 
addressed, writes thus, — 

' Dolben was in my division at Eton, but we were not much 
thrown together till we were fellow pupils at Boughrood. When 
he came there the Rectory was very full, with five pupils as well 
as a large family of children, so that he was lodged in the village 
of Llyswen, the other side of the Wye, and consequently was rather 
outside our life. In September of that year I went back early 
to work for matriculation at Balliol, and we two were alone 
together reading for the same purpose. I remember his rebuking 
me for wanting to read the Odyssey with him after dinner : he 

said that even Monks did not work after dinner He was greatly 

taken up with Father Ignatius at that time, and his ideal of life 
was monastic. He was most amusing about his distaste for going 
into society, and the feeling of despair which came on him when 
the carriage drew up at a house where he had to go to a ball. 
We walked a great deal together, and his talks were always of 
the religious life, and the associations he looked to form at 
Oxford. . . . He was most regular at our early bathing in the 
river a few yards from the house : which cannot, I think, have 
been good for him. ... I went into residence at Oxford in October, 
and I do not think that I ever saw him again. . . . There remains 
with me a vivid recollection of a pale serious man, rather than 
( xcix ) g 2 


boy, of pure and blameless life,looking forward intently to devoting 
himself to a religious life. He often spoke of one of his friends 

( ) to me ; and I believe he had an ardent admiration for 

Manning. Some lines of his that I had, referred, I think, to 

The other, writing to a friend of mine, has the same 


' My recollections of Mackworth Dolben are of a young monk 
of mediaeval times. ... In appearance he was tall and slight, with 
a complexion of transparent pallor. He had good features, and 
fine dark melancholy eyes. Do you remember Dore's picture of 
a young monk sitting in chapel among a lot of older men, & 
gazing sadly into vacancy ? he was rather like that. Also 
Clifford's picture of Father Damien before he left for the leper 
settlement in Hawaii reminds me of him. ... He had arranged 
the upper part of a bureau in his room with crucifix and candles 
and vases of flowers, & used to pray there after donning his mon- 
astic habit. His religion seemed to me a passion, and I was 
much affected at times by his fervour. . . . One day we took 
a holiday and rode sixteen miles over the Black Mountains to 
Llanthony Abbey,-^ he dressed in the full habit of a Benedictine 
Monk, and I riding by his side in ordinary costume. You can 
imagine the sensation he created passing through the Welsh 
villages. ... I think he found me more in sympathy than the 
other pupils, and we became good friends ; though I don't think 
he was intimate with any of us ; but he used to write to me from 
time to time till he died ; and I always preserve an affectionate 
remembrance of his gentle and kindly nature. I think of him as 
a young saint so soon called to his rest.' 

In the summer of 1866, on his way home from his 
tutor in Wales, he paid a clandestine visit to Birming- 
ham. Of this he tells in a later letter. Meanwhile 

^ Father Ignatius was not yet established at Llanthony. 


in August of that year Gerard Hopkins came to me 
at Rochdale, and stayed, I think, some weeks. We 
read Herodotus together. He was so punctilious about 
the text, and so enjoyed loitering over the difficulties, 
that I foresaw we should never get through, and broke 
off from him to go my own way. He had not read 
more than half of the nine books when he went in for 
' Greats ' ; this did not however prevent his success, 
and my tutor, Professor Wilson, who was one of the 
examiners, told me that ' for form ' he was by far the 
best man in the first class. ' Form ' was an all- 
pervading esoteric cliche of that hour. Gerard and 
I had schemed for Dolben to join us at Rochdale, but 
the following undated scrap from him records the 
monotony of the situation. 


Finedon Hall 
High am Ferrers 
Dear Bridges [Aug i6. 66.] 

I have waited all this time hoping to give you an 
answer to your most kind invitation, but now I do write 
I am sorry that it is only to say that it is all hut certain 
that I am not to come. My father is anxious that I should 
read regularly. This is the reason, and I am obliged to 
do so if I am ever to get into Balliol in the spring. I shall 
■probably come up in the Autumn for the scholarship. You 


cannot imagine, and, if I told you, you would not believe 
either how much I hofed or how much I was disappointed. 
I cannot miss another post, but I will write this evening 
and send a letter tomorrow. 

ever your affec 

D. M. D. 

The next that I have, written a month later, rather 
impHes that the promised letter was never written. 
He had gone with his family to Malvern. 


Harrow Cottage [Sept. i=' (?) 66] 
West Malvern. 
My dear Bridges 

I am quite aware that I have been inexcusably rude, 
to say nothing of ingratitude, in not having zoritten to 
you before. Tou must forgive me because there is really 
no reason why you should — which goes some way. At 
any rate you must know that neither are my pleasures 
so various nor my chances of seeing my friends so many, 
but that I would have given a month at least of ordinary 
existence for a week at Rochdale. The fact is that my 
father likes me to be with him all the time that I am 
at home — and now we are here it is quite impossible thai 
I should come. Malvern being intended to ' set me up ', 
which no place succeeds in doing, — something unknown 
obstinately persisting in keeping down. I do hope though 
that you will be persuaded to come to Finedon at Christ- 
mas, It being already about a year since I saw you. 
Remembering the week I spent at Rochdale last year 


I think that I am somewhat unfortunate, therefore I am 
entitled to fity, and Finedon to your consideration. Is 
it not so? \_ ] 7 return to De fFinton's in a fort- 
night and shall not come up to Oxford till January for 
matriculation, as I am absolutely unable to work hard, 
even if I wished to do so. I was in Birmingham on my 
way home from Wales and made acquaintance with our 
Third Order 5" there. They are exceedingly nice, and 
might be called ' earnest young men ' {if it did not suggest 
such unpleasant persons)— for their quiet earnestness is 
a very remarkable contrast to the noisiness of the Bristol 
B''^. My habit and bare feet created some astonishment 
in the choir at S. Albans — but on the whole I made great 
friends with the clergy etc. — One of the priests gave me 
his blessing in the sacristy after service in a very kind 
manner. F'' Pollock has been a true friend to our Order, 
and the greater part of his choir are B^^ of our order. 
I visited the Oratory. Newman was away, but F^ Ryder 
was most civil, and not at all contemptuous. You have 
probably heard that the Father Sup^ has been staying 
with the Archbishop, and that the Abp has promised to 
sanction his new constitution etc. Also that the Bp of 
London has removed the inhibition, and given his ' special 
consent ' to his preaching at S. Michael's Shoreditch. 
I saw F'' Basil there when I was in London. Father is 

with him. In great haste 

ever yr affec 
D. M. D. 

He did not tell his family of this visit to Birmingham, 
and it may have been the unconscious lessening of 
( ciii ) 


confidence that made his father keep him so close. 
(' Father ' in the last letter is Ignatius.) There was 
a fear lest he might run off some day and be irrevocably 
received into the Roman Communion by Cardinal 
Newman. And he plainly had contemplated an inter- 
view with Newman on this occasion. But his visit 
was ostensibly to his Anglican brothers of the O. S. B. 
The link with the Oratory was the presence in Birming- 
ham of Mr. Walford, who as one of the junior masters 
at Eton had first made Dolben's acquaintance there 
in 1864, and had since Romanized. As a schoolmaster 
he had found himself as much out of place at Eton 
as Dolben was. He had a truer vocation for the 
religious life, and was thus a great admirer of Dolben 
there, and encouraged him in his religious leanings : 
and on one occasion at least they had said offices 
together. But Dolben, though grateful for his sym- 
pathy, had never made a friend of him ; and the 
notion that at this later date he had any influence in 
drawing Dolben to the Roman communion is, I think, 
a mistake. Very shortly after this Gerard Hopkins, 
who was now a Roman Catholic and had been on 
a visit to Cardinal Newman at the Oratory, wrote to 
me as follows. [Sept. 24 — 66] ' Walford beheved that 
( civ ) 


Dolben had been mobbed in Birmingham. He went 
in his habit without sandals barefoot. I do not know 
whether it is more funny or affecting to think of.' 

This was, so far as I know, Digby's only visit to 
Birmingham ; Hopkins was at that time- frequently 
at the Oratory, and he never heard of any other. But 
he was present at a Candlemas service in 1867 some- 
where with Walford, who gave Coles a circumstantial 
account of his meeting with him on that occasion. 

This letter from Malvern is the last that I have, 
and whether Dolben ever wrote to me again I cannot 
say. There is much the same gap in Coles' recollec- 
tion, dating with him from a visit that he paid to 
Dolben in the summer. Coles, who had also been De 
Winton's pupil and was a welcome visitor at Bough- 
rood, went there in July or August of 66 especially 
to see Dolben, and he remembers finding him living 
apart in the small house across the river among corn- 
fields, where the landrails craked a ceaseless accompani- 
ment to their long talks, as he sat with him of an 
evening. Digby would try to detain Coles beyond the 
hour when he was strictly expected by his host to 
return to head-quarters. He was then still conciliated 

with the Anglican church, and would dress himself in 


his monk's habit and prowl about the country at night : 
and he made on one occasion a long excursion to 
a neighbouring parish in order to extort absolution 
from the Vicar, who, to his disgust, would not incur 
the unusual responsibility of hearing the confession of 
a minor. Digby told Coles that he thought it high 
time he was out of his ' stat. fup.' 

It was probably in the Michaelmas term that he 
began seriously to consider the practical step of 
Romanizing ; and, if so, that would fuUy account for 
his silence ; indeed the difficulty of explaining, apart 
from the knowledge that I should be uncongenial, 
would have prevented his writing ; for only active 
sympathy could overcome his dislike of letter-writing : 
and it must have been in the wdnter (66-67) that he 
told his father that he intended to join the Roman 
communion. His father, in his distress, said words 
which widened the breach between them : but he 
exacted a promise from his son that he would not be 
received until he should have left Oxford, hoping that 
something might yet arise to prevent the disaster. 
Dolben never told me of this treaty. 

On May i he came up to Oxford to matriculate. 
He was in weak health and actually fainted in the 
( cvi ) 


examination on the next day, and was thus thrown 
out. He lodged at the Randolph Hotel, and must 
have left at once after his failure. Neither Hopkins nor 
I knew of his visit at the time : he had told no one 
but Coles ; and the chance coincidence of date with 
a short-lived diary of his old friend alone preserved the 
facts. Coles was distressed by his talk : he found him 
in the dilemma depicted in the contemporary poems. 
His father, disappointed in the plans for Balliol, entered 
his name at Ch: Ch:, and Digby approved of the 
change of programme. It was also decided that he 
should leave De Winton's, and Mr. Prichard being 
now re-established in health agreed to receive him 
again. His sister tells me that Digby surprised his 
father by requesting what seemed a somewhat excessive 
allowance of money in the event of his going to 
Ch: Ch: , intending apparently to live at the Univer- 
sity, if he went there, in a style very different from 
his old negligent way of life. Lastly, after his death, 
there was found among his papers the beginning of 
a letter to his father asking to be absolved of his 
promise not to be baptized, in case of any dangerous 
accident or illness. This was not dated, but was almost 

certainly written at Mr. Prichard's after his arriving 
( evil ) 


there on June 15th. Thirteen days later he was 
drowned when bathing in the river Welland, two miles 
away from South Lufienham Rectory. I make the 
following extracts from the Uttle memoir of his last 
days that Mr. Prichard wrote at the time, and sent 
to the family at Finedon. Mr. Prichard was one of 
the wisest and kindest of Digby's friends ; and, as he 
knew him weU, his evidence is valuable apart from its 
being the only picture of Dolben during those last 


" Dear Digby Mackworth Dolben came to us on Saturday, 

June 15 1867, it being intended that he should stay here during 

the summer and read preparatory to going to Oxford in October. 

We both had looked forward with the greatest pleasure to his 

return, having become so much attached to him when he was here 

two years ago. Once or twice we had seen him since, but only for 

a passing visit. We had sent the carriage to the train for him 

earlier in the day, but he had not come, and we had given up 

expecting him, when we heard a ring at 10 o'clock at night. He 

was received very gladly, and with a good deal of laughing, in 

which he joined, as we were accustomed to say that he generally 

missed his train, and came at unexpected hours. He had grown 

a good deal since he was here : he was very pale, and to a stranger 

might have looked in ill health, but I do not think his appearance 

expressed this. 

* * * 

On Monday we talked over his reading. He told me what he 

had been doing lately. His box of books was brought up and 

unpacked, and we found room in the drawingroom shelves for 

( cviii ) 


his books of poetry etc. Vft dined at half-past one or two. he 
generally read on until nearly that time, sitting in the same room 
with me, as his own room was not ready, * « » If he had read 
enough he used to construe before dinner : if not, in the afternoon. 
He seemed to wish to lose no time, and to do thoroughly -what 
he had to do * « • Before dinner I used sometimes to ask him 
to go into the garden for air and exercise. . . . He would begin a 
game of croquet, or walk about and talk to Alice, or to the children. 

4e !fE V 

The younger children used to come in for a few minutes each 
to say their Latin to me. I asked him if it disturbed him, and he 
said Oh ! no. as if he liked it. And I could see that he was some- 
times much amused by their questions or remarks. He was 
always gentle and kind with children ; perhaps a little reserved 
towards them, but his manner expressed tenderness. While 
reading, myself, in the same room I used sometimes to talk to 
him, as I could count on his being interested, and on his quickness 
of apprehension * » * 

Our life was very even and uneventful during this fortnight. 
He seemed quite happy ; much more so than when here before, 
though then he was not unhappy. But now there was a continual 
play of mind, as if he was at peace, and had leisure for such 
enjoyments as his studies and books and conversation gave him. 
He knew and felt that we all loved him. His playfulness in 
conversation and quiet perception of humour were great » « * » 

In the evenings he sometimes played chess, which he was 
learning, or read poetry. On Sunday evenings he read Pascal, 
and seemed pleased with the extreme beauty of the language. 
« « * 

[When] they had all gone upstairs to bed, Dolben used to sit 
on a box at the top of the stairs, outside his room, with quite 
a levee round him, amusing them, and I sometimes heard their 
laughter downstairs. 

* * * 

He did not strike me as looking forward with any particular 
interest to his Oxford Ufe. He said that he thought he should 
like Ch: Ch: better than Balliol ; but that he had been much 

( cix ) 


annoyed at not getting into the latter. He did not tell me — what 
was the case — that he had been so ill that he had fainted the 
same day. 

I have never known any one of his age, — perhaps none at all— 
whom it was such a pleasure to converse with and teach. On his 
own subjects of poetry and knowledge of art his mind was far in 
advance of mine « » « But on general topics, history, philosophy, 
classics etc, I felt that he was interested in gaining ideas. His 
Latin writing was rather drudgery to him » • he took much pains 
with it. * * his appreciation of classical poetry was very great. 
Sophocles was not, I think, his favourite author, but he spoke 
of the great beauty of the descriptions in the CEdipus Coloneus. 
The last piece he construed to me was the speech of Ajax taking 
leave of the world before his death. On my asking him whether 
it was not beautiful, he said " very beautiful " emphatically. 
I remarked that one could have been content if the play had 
ended there. He said ' yes ', and then added with a smile ' In the 
Persae, which I read with you when I was here before, there were 
some scores of lines at the end, with little but inai in them.' 

These were the last words I heard him say in a lesson ; I rather 
think the last I heard him speak." 

This was on Friday, June 28th, and after he had 

read the speech of Ajax, he went, late in the afternoon 

to bathe with Mr. Prichard's son Walter at a spot 

where the stream widens into a small pool. The boy 

could not swim, but had learned to float on his back. 

Digby was a good swimmer. They had bathed there 

together before : the conditions were not dangerous, 

and no apprehension was felt when they did not return, 

Mr. Prichard's memorandum tells the story as it came 

to be known to him, with aU the terror, confusion 


and distress of the moment. What happened was that 
when they were bathing Digby took the boy on his 
back and swam across the pool with him. Returning 
in the same fashion he suddenly sank within a few 
yards of the bank to which he was swimming. The 
boy, who was the only witness, had the presence of 
mind to turn on his back and keep himself afloat, and 
shout to some reapers in the riverside meadows. They 
did not at once take alarm, but on the boy's per- 
sistently calling they ran to the bank and got him out 
with difficulty and delay : the water was deep, and 
none of them could venture in. Digby's body was 
not found until some hours after. He was buried 
under the altar at Finedon on July 6th. 
* * m 

It was the year of the French Exhibition, and I was 
just starting for Paris, engaged, much against my 
natural inclinations, in an eight-oared race on the 
Seine. The incongruity of these consecutive para- 
graphs is sufficient. I was spared, it is true, the distress 
of witnessing the inconsolable grief of his home, but 
it was an added distress not to be able to take one's 
share in it, and to be absent from the last scene. I did 
not however at the time feel any of the remorse which, 
( cxi ) 


since I came to know the history of his last months, 
I have never been able quite to shake off, the regret, 
I mean, that I had for eight months allowed myself 
almost to lose sight of him. It seems that he hid 
from me the growing motive of his silence : and I 
cannot now determine how I interpreted his conduct. 
He was so irregular a correspondent that his silence, 
if he did not write, would have suggested nothing: 
and he had plenty of other friends for whose sake he 
might well have been neglecting me. Again, his 
coming up to Oxford had been so constantly imminent, 
that the expectation of it made other considerations 
insignificant. I was myself, it is true, drifting fast away 
from our old religious sympathies in a different direction 
from him, but I had not even at the time of his death 
made any change that could have affected our corre- 
spondence; andlshould have looked in him for a similar 
effect from the same course of philosophical study. 

The last poems, found in his desk and written 
presumably during the last weeks of his life, tell aU that 
is known. For final words I will let Gerard Hopkins 
speak. He wrote to me in August 1867 as follows. 

' I heard of Dolben's death the day I returned from 

' Paris by a letter from which had been a week 

( cxii ) 


waiting for me. B * » * has since written me a few 
more particulars. I have kept the beginning of 
a letter to you a long time by me but to no purpose 
so far as being more ready to write goes. There is 
very little I have to say. I looked forv/ard to meeting 
Dolben and his being a Catholic more than to any- 
thing. At the same time from never having met him 
but once I find it difiicult to reaUse his death or feel 
as if it were anything to me. You know there can 
very seldom have happened the loss of so much beauty 
(in body and mind and life) and of the promise of 
still more as there has been in his case — seldom, 
I mean, in the whole world, for the conditions -vfi- 
not easily come together. At the same time he had 
gone on in a way wh. was wholly and unhappily 
irrational. I want to know whether his family think 
of gathering and publishing, or at least printing, his 
poetry. Perhaps you wiU like to hear what D' New- 
man says. " Yes, we heard all about Dolben. ' The 
account was very pleasant. He had not given up 
the idea of being a Catholic, but he thought he had 
lived on excitement, and felt he must give himself 
time before he could know whether he was in earnest 

or not. This does not seem to me a wrong frame 
poLBEN ( cxiii ) h 


' of mind. He was up to his death careful in his 
' devotional exercises. I never saw him." Some day 
' I hope to see Finedon and the place where he was 
' drowned too. Can you tell me where he was buried ? 
' — at Finedon, was it not ? If you have letters from 
' him will you let me see them some day ? ' 

No one ever wrote words with more critical delibera- 
tion than Gerard Hopkins, and I am glad to have 
preserved the letter which he then wrote, having met 
Dolben but once, for it must give some idea of the 
grief which his more intimate friends suffered at his 
death ; some measure too of the shock to their hopes, 
since it records the full appreciation which his genius 
received from them during his life. This was, no 
doubt, chiefly due to the great charm of his personality, 
for his character was transparent ; nor did the strange 
spontaneous beauty and significance, that invested the 
actions of his life, desert him in the circumstances of 
his death. It was beautiful and strange that, afteir all 
his unceasing mental perplexity, he should die uncon- 
sciously, — for he must have fainted in the water, — 
without pain, in one of his rare moments of healthy 
bodily enjoyment : and premature as his end was, and 

the stroke of it unlooked for, and apparently sudden. 
( cxiv ) 


yet his last poems show him waiting and expectant, 
and his last action had all the dignity and fitness of 
artistic preparation. 

My story of the accidents of his life can give no 
picture of his charm ; his perpetual humour and light 
merriment are what will least appear : though I may 
hope that the truthfulness of the story reveals more 
than I can myself perceive. As he went his way 
enthusiastically pursuing his imaginations, all inter- 
course with him was delightful, and all my remem- 
brance of him is happy. 

Jan 191 1. 

The second edition of this book enables me to 

correct a few misprints and errors in the Memoir, and 

to make additions to the notes. Shortly after the first 

publication I received a letter from Mr. W. B. Gamlen,- 

of Exeter College, Secretary of the Oxford University 

Chest, giving his recollections of Dolben when he 

happened to meet him during his first pupillage at 
( cxv ) ha 


South Luffenhafti in 1865. Since it carries the story 
on just beyond the date at which I ended, it will be in 
place here at the end. Mr. Gamlen wrote Nov. 16, 191 1. 

' I was a pupil for two months in the summer of 
' 1863 of C. E. Prichard at S. Lufienham rectory. At 
' Easter, 1865, being then an undergraduate, I returned 
* there on a visit. I find from notes I have preserved 
' that I was at S. Luffenham from 10 to 21 AprU in 
' that year. 

' Dolben was then at the rectory, and as he was, 
' I believe, the only pupil, I naturally saw a good deal 
' of him. I soon discovered his mediasval tastes and 
' yearnings, which did not in the least commend them- 
' selves to me, and I daresay my lack of sympathy 
' became evident to him, but whether this was so or 
' not, it did not prevent our being very good friends. 
' I do not remember anything about his poetry, and 
' it is very likely I did not know that he had written 
' anything, but I can recall his distinguished appear- 
' ance, and the dreamy far-away look in his eyes. The 
' two photographs in your Memoir represent him as a 
' year or two younger than I recollect him. 

' I left S. Luffenham under the impression that I had 

' been in constant contact during my stay there with 
( cxvi ) 


' a highly-cultivated intelligence, and one which it was 
' quite beyond my power rightly to appraise. 

' Two and a half years later, in Michaelmas term 
' 1867, I met Pri chard quite unexpectedly in Broad 
' Street ; and after exchanging greetings my first ques- 
' tion was. And how is Dolben ? He looked upon me 
' with an agonized expression, — I thought he was going 
' to faint, — and then with a gasp said, What, don't 
' you know ? As soon as he had somewhat collected 
' himself he went on to tell me the story of Dolben's 
' death, and of his own son's narrow escape. 

' The WeUand scarcely deserves to be called a river. 
' My recollection is of a sluggish brook, which at the 
' place where we used to bathe expanded into a deep 
' pool which you could swim across in a few strokes.' 

' C. E. Prichard had the " whitest soul " of any 

' man I have ever met. His feeble health probably 

' prevented his being very effective as a teacher, but 

' his conversation and letters were in the highest degree 

' inspiring and illuminating. If Dolben could have 

' spent two unbroken years under the influence you 

' suggest at p. Ixxv ^ of your Memoir the result might 

' have been to lead him to look at matters ecclesiastical 

^ p. Ixxix of this edition. 
( cxvii ) 


' from the historical and philosophical as well as from 

' the emotional point of view. But Prichard was so 

' fond of him as he was, that he would probably have 

' cared little to see him otherwise than as he had first 

' known him.' 

Chilswell, "June 1914. 

R. B. 

( cxviii ) 




Come to me, Beloved, 
Babe of Bethlehem ; 

Lay aside Thy Sceptre 
And Thy Diadem. 

Come to me, Beloved ; 

Light and healing bring ; 
Hide my sin and sorrow 

Underneath Thy wing. 

Bid all fear and doubting 
From my soul depart. 

As I feel the beating 
Of Thy Human Heart. 
( I ) 


Look upon me sweetly 
With Thy Human Eyes 

With Thy Human Finger 
Point me to the skies. 

Safe from earthly scandal 

My poor spirit hide 
In the utter stillness 

Of Thy wounded Side. 

Guide me, ever guide me, 
With Thy pierced Hand, 

Till I reach the borders 
Of the pleasant land. 

Then, my own Beloved, 
Take me home to rest ; 

Whisper words of comfort ; 
Lay me on Thy Breast. 

Show me not the Glory 
Round about Thy Throne ; 

Show me not the flashes 
Of Thy jewelled Crown. 



Hide me from the pity 

Of the Angels' Band, 
Who ever sing Thy praises, 

And before Thee stand. 

Hide me from the glances 

Of the Seraphin, — 
They, so pure and spotless, 

I, so stained with sin. 

Hide me from S. Michael 
With his flaming sword : — 

Thou can'st understand me, 
O my Human Lord ! 

Jesu, my Beloved, 

Come to me alone ; 
In Thy sweet embraces 

Make me all Thine own. 

By the quiet waters, 

Sweetest Jesu, lead ; 
'Mid the virgin liUes, 

Purest Jesu, feed. 

( 3 ) B 2 


Only Thee, Beloved, 

Only Thee, I seek. 
Thou, the Man Christ Jesus, 

Strength in flesh made weak. 




Brother Jerome seated in the cloister 

O TO have wandered in the days that were, 
Through the sweet groves of green Academe — 
Or, shrouded in a night of olive boughs, 
Have watched their starry clusters overhead 
Twinkle and quiver in the perfumed breeze — 
That breeze which softly wafted from afar, 
Mingled with rustling leaves and fountain's splash, 
The boyish laughter and the pasan songs ; 
Or, couched among the beds of pale-pink thyme 
That fringe Cephissus with his purple pools. 
Have idly listened while low voices sang 
Of all those ancient victories of love. 
That never weary and that never die, — 
Of Sappho's leap, Leander's nightly swim, 
Of wandering Echo, and the Trojan maid 
For whom all ages shed their pitying tears ; — 
Or that fair legend, dearest of them all, 


That tells us how the hyacinth was born ; 

Or to have mingled in the eager crowd 

That questioning circled some philosopher, 

Young eyes that glistened and young cheeks that 

For love of Truth, the great. Indefinite — 
Truth beautiful as are the distant hills 
Veiled in soft purple, crags whereon is found 
No tender plant in the uncreviced rock. 
But clinging lichen, and black shrivelled moss ; — 
So should day pass, till, from the western skies, 
Behind the marble shrines and palaces. 
The big sun sunk, reddening the Aegean Sea. 
So should life pass, as flows the clear-brown stream 
And scarcely moves the water-lily's leaves. 
This sluggish life is like some dead canal. 
Dull, measured, muddy, washing flowerless banks. 
O sunny Athens, home of life and love. 
Free joyous life that I may never live, 
Warm glowing love that I may never know, — 
Home of Apollo, god of poetry. 
Dear bright-haired god, in whom I half believe. 
Come to me as thou cam'st to Semele, 
Trailing across the hills thy saffron robe, 


And catch me heavenward, wrapt in golden mists. 

I weary of this squalid holiness, 

I weary of these hot black draperies, 

I weary of the incense-thickened air, 

The chiming of the inevitable bells. 

My boyhood — ^hurried over, but once gone 

For ever mourned, — ^return for one short hour ; 

Friends of past days, light up these cloister walls 

With your bright presences and starry eyes. 

And make the cold grey vaulting ring again 

With tinkling laughter. — ^Ah ! they come, they come : 

I shut my eyes and fancy that I hear 

The sun-lit ripples kiss the willow-boughs. . . . 

So soon forgotten that all lovely things 

Which this vile earth affords — trees, mountains, 

The regal faces, and the godlike eyes 
We see, — the tender voices that we hear, 
Are but mere shadows ? — the reality 
A cloud-veiled Face, a voice that 's lost in air, 
Or drowned in music more intelligible ? 
From every carven niche the stony Saints 
Stretch out their wasted hands in mute reproach, 
And from the Crucifix the great wan Christ 


Shows me His thorny Crown and gaping Wounds. 

Then hark ! I hear from many a lonely grave, 

From blood-stained sands of amphitheatres, 

From loathsome dungeon, and from blackened stake 

They cry, the Martyrs cry, ' Behold the Man ! ' 

Is there no place in all the universe 

To hide me in ? no little island girt 

With waves, to drown the echo of that cry : 

' Behold the Man, the Man of Calvary ! ' 

Brother Francis, crossing the cloister, sings 

As pants the hart for forest-streams 

When wandering wearily 
Across the burning desert sand. 

So pant I, Lord, for Thee ! 
Sweetest Jesu ! Thou art He 

To whom my soul aspires ; 
Sweetest Jesu, Thou art He, 

Whom my whole heart desires. 
To love Thee, Oh the ecstasy, 

The rapture, and the joy ! 
All earthly loves shall pass away, 

All earthly pleasures cloy ; 


But whoso loves the Son of God 

Of Love shall never tire ; 
But through and through shall burn and glow 

With Love's undying Fire. 

He enters the chapel. 






Author of pardon, Jesu Christ, 
Extend Thy love to us, and deign 
To show Thy mercy upon us, 
And cleanse our hearts from every stain. 

Most tender and most gracious Lord, 
Thou knowest whereof man is made ; 
Thou knowest whereunto he falls, 
If Thou withdraw Thy saving aid. 

My every thought to Thee is clear. 
My inmost soul unveiled to Thee ; — 
Disperse and drive away the dreams 
Of worldliness and vanity. 

We wander exiled here below. 
Through this sad vale of sin and strife ; 
O lead us to the Holy Mount, 
The home of everlasting Life. 
( 10) 

Thou Who for us becamest poor, 
Thou Who for us wast crucified, 
Wash out the past in that dear Stream 
That fioweth from Thy pierced Side. 

Thrice blessed Love that satisfies 
Its thirst in Thee, O Fount of Grace : 
Thrice blessed eyes that through all time 
Shall see Thy Glory face to face. 

Thy Glory, Lord, surpasses thought, 
And yet Thy Love is infinite ; — 
That Love to taste, that Glory see, 
My heart to Thee has winged her flight. 




Sis licet felix ubicunque mavis 
Et memor nostri . . . vivas 

On river banks lay love wras born. 

And cradled 'neath a budding thorn, 

Whose flowers never more shall kiss 

Lips half so sweet and red as his. 

Beneath him lily-islands spread 

With broad cool leaves a floating bed : 

Around, to meet his opening eyes. 

The ripples danced in glad surprise. 

I found him there when spring was new, 

When winds were soft and skies were blue ; 

I marvelled not, although he drew 

My whole soul to him, for I knew 

That he was born to be my king. 

And I was only born to sing 

With faded lips and feeble lays 

His love and beauty all my days. 

Therefore I pushed the flowers aside 

And humbly knelt me by his side, 

( 12) 


And then I stooped, and whispered — ' Come, 
' O Long-desired, to your Home ; 
' How much desired none can know, 
' But those who wander to and fro 
' Tlirough unknown groups and careless faces, 
' And seek in vain for friendship's graces, 
' Until the earth's rich beauties seem 
' The bitter mockery of a dream : 
' Nor shall they wake, nor shall they see 
' This life's most sweet reality, 
' Until before them there arise 
' A loving, answering pair of eyes. — 
' So had I wandered, till you came ; 
' Spring, summer, autumn were the same ; 
' For winter ever held the skies 
' Clouded with earth's sad mysteries ; 
' And on my heart the chilly hand 
' Of grief I could not understand. 
' Those looks, those words of scorn I felt, — 
' Never was frost so hard to melt : — 
' Yet, as from gardens far below, 
' Sweet breezes through a sick room blow, 
' So from the Future that should be, 
' Faint hopes were always wafted me ; 
( 13) 


' Till all my heart and soul were full 
' Of longing undefinable. 
' You came — ^you came. 

' No lilies can I offer you, 
' Nor gentian, nor violets blue : 
' The only flower that I own 
' Is, was and shall be, yours alone, — 
' A flower of such a glowing red 
' It seems as if each leaf had bled.' 

He took my flower ; I saw it pressed 
With loving care against his breast. 
But on that robe it left a stain, 
Which never shall come out again. 
He heeded not, but clasped my hand 
And led me through enchanted land. 
On we went — the flowers springing, 
Turtle-voices ever singing ; 
On we went — I understood 
Lake and mountain, rock and wood, 
Hidden meanings, hidden duties, 
Hidden loves, and hidden beauties ; 
On we went — the ceaseless chorus 
Of all nature chanted o'er us ; 
On we went — the scented breeze 


From the bright Hesperian seas 
Striking ever on our faces, 
Bringing from those blessed places 
A foretaste of the spirit's rest 
Among the Islands of the blest ; 
Till the griefs of life's old story 
Faded in a mist of glory. 
Came there with that glorious vision 
Throbbing notes of songs Elysian, 
Echoing now as deep and loud 
As the thunder in the cloud ; 
Then again the music sank 
Soft as ripples on the bank ; 
And the angels, as they passed. 
Whispered to me ' Loved at last.' 

Gone — ^gone — O never nevermore, 
Standing upon the willowy shore, 
Shall it be mine to watch his face 
Uplifted westward, all ablaze 
With sunset glory, and his eyes 
Catching the splendour of the skies, 
Then softly downward turned on mine, 
As stars in turbid waters shine. 
( IS ) 


I cannot think, I cannot weep, — 
But as one walking in his sleep, 
I wander back through well-known ways. 
As once with him through summer days. 
Again I see the rushes shiver. 
And lines on dying sunlight quiver 
Across the waters cold and brown, 
O'er which our boat glides slowly down. 
Again, again I see him stand 
With red June roses in his hand ; 
Again, again within those walls 
We loved so well, the sunlight falls 
From blazoned windows on his head, 
In streams of purple and of red. 
Gone — gone. — 

So take my flowers, dear river Thames, 

And snap, oh snap the lily stems. 

I throw my heart among those flowers 

You gave to me in boyish hours : 

Spare it and them nor storm nor mire ; 

But sink them lower, toss them higher, 

I care not, — ^for I know that pain 

Alone can purify their stain. 

So only, only may I win 


Some pardon for my youthful sin, — 

Vain hopes, false peace, untrustful fears, 

Three wasted, dreamy, happy years ; — 

So only may I stand with him, 

When suns have sunk and moons grown dim. 

And see him shining in the light 

Of the new Heaven's sunless white. 

Beloved, take my Httle song : 
The river, as he rolls along, 
Will sing it clearer far than I ; 
And possibly your memory, 
When looking back on what has been, 
Will tell you what these verses mean. 

D01.BEN ( 17 ) 




In the days before the high tide 
Swept away the towers of sand 

Built with so much care and labour 
By the children of the land, 

Pale, upon the pallid beaches. 
Thirsting, on the thirsty sands. 

Ever cried I to the Distance, 
Ever seaward spread my hands. 

See, they come, they come, the ripples, 
Singing, singing fast and low. 

Meet the longing of the sea-shores, 
Clasp them, kiss them once, and go. 

' Stay, sweet Ocean, satisfying 

All desires into rest^ — ' 
Not a word the Ocean answered. 

Rolling sunward down the west. 
( i8 ) 


Then I wept : ' Oh, who will give me 

To behold the stable sea, 
On whose tideless shores for ever 

Sounds of many waters be ? ' 




The sun has set. 

The western light 

And after that 

The starlit night 

Still tell of Him, 

Who far away, 

Is Lord of night 

As well as day. 

Now do you wonder, 

Dear, that I 

Wished you ' Good night ' 

And not ' Good-bye ' ? 

( 20) 





Surely before the time my Sun has set : 

The evening had not come, it was but noon, 

The gladness passed from all my Pleasant Land ; 

And, through the night that knows nor star nor moon, 

Among clean souls who all but Heaven forget. 

Alone remembering I wander on. 

They sing of triumph, and a Mighty Hand 

Locked fast in theirs through sorrow's Mystery ; 

They sing of glimpses of another Land, 

Whose purples gleam through all their agony. 

But I — I did not choose like them, I chose 

The summer roses, and the red, red wine, 

The juice of earth's wild grapes, to drink with those 

Whose glories yet thro' saddest memories shine. 

I will not tell of them, of him who came ; 

I will not tell you what men call my land. 

They speak half-choked in fogs of scorn and sin. 

(21 ) 


I turn from all their pitiless human din 
To voices that can feel and understand. 

O ever-laughing rivers, sing his name 
To all your lilies ; — tell it out, O chime, 
In hourly four-fold voices ; — ^western breeze 
Among the avenues of scented lime 
Murmur it softly to the summer night ; — 
O sunlight, water, music, flowers and trees, 
Heart-beats of nature's infinite delight, 
Love him for ever, all things beautiful ! 
A little while it was he stayed with me, 
And taught me knowledge sweet and wonderful. 
And satisfied my soul with poetry : 
But soon, too soon, there sounded from above 
Innumerable clapping of white hands. 
And countless laughing voices sang of love. 
And called my friend away to other lands. 
Well — I am very glad they were so fair. 
For whom the lightening east and morning skies ; 
For me the sunset of his golden hair. 
Fading among the hills of Paradise. 

Weed-grown is all my garden of delight ; — 
Most tired, most cold without the Eden-gate, 
With eyes still good for ache, tho' not for sight, 
( ") 


Among the briers and thorns I weep and wait. 
Now first I catch the meaning of a strife, 
A great soul-battle fought for death or life. 
Nearing me come the rumours of a war, 
And blood and dust sweep cloudy from afar. 
And, surging round, the sobbing of the sea 
Choked with the weepings of humanity. 
Alas ! no armour have I fashioned me, 
And, having lived on honey in the past, 
Have gained no strength. From the unfathomed sea 
I draw no food, for all the nets I cast. 
I am not strong enough to fight beneath, 
I am not clean enough to mount above ; 
Oh let me dream, although to dream is death, 
Beside the hills where last I saw my Love, 

( 23 ) 




There is a garden, which I think He loves 

Who loveth all things fair ; 
And once the Master of the flowers came 

To teach love-lessons there. 

He touched my eyes, and in the open sun 

They walked, the Holy Dead, 
TraiUng their washen robes across the turf, 

An aureole round each head. 

One said, with wisdom in his infant eyes, — 
' The world I never knew ; 
But, love the Holy Child of Bethlehem, 
And He wiU love you too.' 

One said — ' The victory is hard to vnn, 
' But love shall conquer death. 

' The world is sweet, but He is sweeter far. 
' The Boy of Nazareth.' 

One said — ' My life was twilight from the first ; 

' But on my Calvary, 
' Beside my cross, another Cross was raised 

' In utter love for me.' 

One said — ' The vsdne-vat it was hard to tread, 

' It stained my weary feet ; 
' But One from Bozra trod with me in love, 

' And made my vintage sweet.' 

One said — * My human loves were pure and fair, 

' He would not have them cease ; 
' But, knit to His, I bore them in my heart 

' Into the land of peace.' 

One came, who in the groves of Paradise 

Had latest cut his palm ; 
He only said — ' The floods lift up their voice, 

' But love can make them calm.' 

I heard a step — ^I had been long alone, 
I thought they might have missed me — 

It was my mother coming o'er the grass ; 
I turned — and so she kissed me. 

(25 ) 




I WILL not sing my little puny songs. 

It is more blessed for the rippling pool 

To be absorbed in the great ocean-wave 

Than even to kiss the sea-weeds on its breast. 

Therefore in passiveness I will lie still, 

And let the multitudinous music of the Greek 

Pass into me, till I am musical. 

( 26) 



Happy the man, who on the mountain-side 
Bending o'er fern and flowers his basket fills : 
Yet he will never know the outline-power, 
The awful Whole of the Eternal Hills. 

So some there are, who never feel the strength 
In thy blind eyes, majestic and complete, 
Which conquers those, who motionlessly sit, 
O dear divine old Giant, at thy feet. 



1 1 

There was one wlio walked in shadow, 
There was one who walked in light : 

But once their way together lay, 
\yhere sun and shade unite, 

In the meadow of the lotus, 

In the meadow of the rose, 
Where fair with youth and clear with truth 

The Living River flows. 

Scarcely summer stillness breaking. 
Questions, answers, soft and low — 

The words they said, the vows they made. 
None but the willows know. 

Both have passed away for ever 
From the meadow and the stream ; 

Past their waking, past their breaking 
The sweetness of that dream. 

One along the dusty highway 
Toiling counts the weary hours, 
( 28) 


And one among its shining throng 
The world has crowned with flowers. 

Sometimes perhaps amid the gardens, 
Where the noble have their part, 

Though noon 's o'erhead, a dew-drop 's shed 
Into a lily's heart. 

This I know, till one heart reaches 
Labour's sum, the restful grave. 

Will still be seen the willow-green. 
And heard the rippling wave. 




What is good for a bootless bene ? 
The Falconer to the lady said. 

From the great Poet's lips I thought to take 
Some drops of honey for my parched mouth, 

And draw from out his depths of purple lake 

Some rill to murmur Peace thro' summer drouth. 

Hail, sweet sad story ! Noble lady, hail ! — 
Who, sorrowing wisely, sorrowed not in vain, 

When Love and Death did strive, but Love prevail 
To turn thy loss to Everlasting gain. 

But what of Love, whose crown is not of bay, 
Whose yellow locks with asphodel are twined ? 

And what of him, who in the battle-day 
Dare not look forward, for the foes behind ? 





Was it a dream — the outline of that Face, 
Which seemed to lighten from the Holy Place, 
Meeting all want, fulfilling all desire F 
A dream — the music of that Voice most sweet, 
Which seemed to rise above the chanting choir ? 
A dream — the treadings of those wounded Feet, 
Pacing about the Altar still and slow r 
Illusion — all I thought to love and know ? 

Strong Sorrow-wrestler of Mount Calvary, 
Speak through the blackness of Thine Agony, 
Say, have I ever known Thee ? answer me ! 
Speak, Merciful and Mighty, lifted up 
To draw those to Thee who have power to will 
The roseate Baptism, and the bitter Cup, 
The Royal Graces of the Cross-crowned Hill. 

Terrible Golgotha — among the bones 
Which whiten thee, as thick as splintered stones 
Where headlong rocks have crushed themselves away, 
I stumble on — Is it too dark to pray ? 
(31 ) 



On the tender myrtle-branches, 

In the meadow lotus-grassed, 
While the wearied sunlight softly 

To the Happy Islands passed, — 
Reddest lips the reddest vintage 

Of the bright Aegean quaffing. 
There I saw them lie, the evening 

Hazes rippled with their laughing. 
Round them boys, with hair as golden 

As Queen Cytherea's own is, 
Sang to lyres wreathed with ivy 

Of the beautiful Adonis — 
(Of Adonis the. Desired, 

He has perished on the mountain,) 
While their voices, rising, falling, 

As the murmur of a fountain. 
Glittered upwards at the mention 

Of his beauty unavailing ; 
Scattered into rainbowed teardrops 

To the at ai of the wailing. ^ 




'E/Kds "Ifiepos re. 

I SAID to my heart, — ' I am tired, 
Am tired of loving in vain ; 

Since the beauty of the Desired 
Shall not be unveiled again.' 

So we laid our Longing to rest. 
To sleep through the endless hours, 

And called to a breeze of the v?est 
To kiss the acacia flowers ; 

To kiss them until they break 

And hide him beneath their bloom, 

That our Longing for Love's sweet sake 
Be shrouded fair in the tomb. 

But the Memories arose in light, 
From meadow and wharf and wave. 

And sang through the gathering night, 
As we turned to leave the grave. 

DOLBEN ( 33 ) 


Of Longing they sang, son of Love, 
Love patient as earth beneath. 

As the heavens immortal above, 
And mightier than time or death. 

They sang till they v?oke him at morn ; 

Arisen he stood by my bed, 
In his face the glory of dawn. 

The gold and purple and red. 

He is mine thro' the depth of pain, 
Is mine through the length of ways ; 

But a death awaits him again, 
In the Triumph of Patient Days. 




Strange, all-absorbing Love, who gatherest 
Unto Thy glowing all my pleasant dew, 
Then delicately my garden waterest, 
Drawing the old, to pour it back anew : 

In the dim glitter of the dawning hours 
' Not so,' I said, ' but stiU these drops of light, 
' Heart-shrined among the petals of my flowers, 
' Shall hold the memory of the starry night 

' So fresh, no need of showers shall there be.' — 
Ah, senseless gardener ! must it come to pass 
That 'neath the glaring noon thou shouldest see 
Thine earth become as iron. His heavens as brass ? 

Nay rather, O my Sun, I will be wise, 
Believe in Love which may not yet be seen. 
Yield Thee my earth-drops, call Thee from the skies, 
In soft return, to keep my bedding green. 

( 35 ) D 2 


So when the bells at Vesper-tide shall sound, 
And the dead ocean o'er my garden flows, 
Upon the Golden Altar may be found 
Some scarlet berries and a Christmas rose. 





Thou liest dead, — lie on : of thee 
No sweet remembrances shall be. 
Who never plucked Pierian rose. 
Who never chanced on Anteros. 
Unknown, unnoticed, there below 
Through Aides' houses shalt thou go 
Alone, — for never a flitting ghost 
Shall find in thee a lover lost. 




Osculo oris sui osculetur me. 

Christ, for whose only Love I keep me clean 

Among the palaces of Babylon, 

I would not Thou should'st reckon me with them 

Who miserly would count each golden stone 

That flags the street of Thy Jerusalem — 

Who, having touched and tasted, heard and seen, 

Half-drunken yet from earthly revelries. 

Would wipe with flower-wreathed hair Thy bleeding 

Jostling about Thee but to stay the heat 
Of pale parched lips in Thy cool chaUces. 

' Our cups are emptiness — ^how long ? how long 
' Before that Thou wilt pour us of Thy wine, 
' Thy sweet new wine, that we may thirst no more f 
' Our lamps are darkness, — open day of Thine, 
' Surely is light to spare behind that door, 
' Where God is Sun, and Saints a starry throng.' 


But I, how little profit were to me 
Tho' mine the twelve foundations of the skies. 
With this green world of love an age below : — 
The soft remembrance of those human eyes 
Would pale the everlasting jewel-glow ; 
And o'er the perfect passionless minstrelsy 

A voice would sound the decachords above, 
Deadening the music of the Living Land — 
Thou madest. Thou knowest, Thou wilt understand, 
And stay me with the Apples of Thy love. 

My Christ, remember that betrothal day ; 
Blessed be He that cometh was the song : 
Glad as the Hebrew boys who cried Hosanna, 
O'er hearts thick-strewn as palms they passed along, 
To reap in might the fields of heavenly manna — 
These were the bridesmen in their white array. 

Soon hearts and eyes were lifted, up to Thee ; 
Deep in dim glories of the Sanctuary, 
Between the thunderous Alleluia-praise, 
Through incense-hazes that encompassed Thee, 
I saw the priestly hands Thyself upraise — 
Heaven sank to earth — earth leapt to heaven for me, 


Rise, Peter, rise ; He standeth on the shore, 
The thrice-denied of Pilate's Judgement Hall : 
His hand is o'er the shingle lest thou fall ; 
He wipes thy bitter tears for evermore. 

' Lovest thou f ' My beloved, answer me, 
Of Thine all-knowledge show me only this — 
Tarrieth the answer ? Lo, the House of Bread ; 
Lo, God and man made one in Mary's kiss 
Bending in rapture o'er the manger bed. 
I with the holy kings wUl go and see. 





Press each on each, sweet wings, and roof me in 
Some closed cell to hold my weariness, 

Desired — as from unshadowed plains to win 
The palmy gloaming of the oases : 

Glad wings, that floated ere the suns arose 
Down pillared lines of ever-fruited trees, 

Where thro' the many-gladed leafage flows 
The uncreated noon of Paradise : 

Soft wings, in contemplation ottentime 

Stretched on the ocean-depths that drown desire, 

Where hghtening tides in never-falling chime 
Ring round the angel isles in glass and fire : 

From meadow-lands that sleep beyond the stars, 
From lilied woods and waves the blessed see. 

Pass, bird of God, ah pass the golden bars. 
And in thy fair compassion pity me. 


O for the garden city of the Flower, 

Of jewelled Italy the chosen gem, 
Where angels and Giotto dreamed a tower 

In beauty as of New Jerusalem : 

For there, when roseate as a winged cloud 
Upon the saffron of the paling east — 

A glowing pillar in the House of God — 
That tower was born, the Very Loveliest, 

Then shaking wings, and voices then that sang. 
Passed up and down the chased jasper wall. 

And through the crystal traceries outrang. 
As when from deep to deep the seraphs call. 

O for the valley slopes which Arno cleaves 
With arrowy heads of gold unceasingly. 

Parting the twilight of the grey-green leaves 
As shafted sungleam on a rain-cloud sky : 

For there, more white than mists of bloom above 
When sunset kindles Luni's vineyard height. 

Strange Presences have paced the olive grove. 
And dazed the cypress cloister into light. 


But not for me the angel-haunted South : 
I spread my hands across the unlovely plain, 

I faint for beauty in the daily drouth 
Of beauty, as the fields for August rain. 

Yet hope is mine against some Eastern dawn, 

Not in a vision but reaUty, 
To see thy wings, and in thine arms upborne. 

To rest me in a fairer Italy. 





I ASKED for Peace — 

My sins arose. 

And bound me close, 
I could not find release. 

I asked for Truth — ■ 
My doubts came in, 
And with their din 

They wearied all my youth. 

I asked for Love — ■ 

My lovers failed. 

And griefs assailed 
Around, beneath, above. 

I asked for Thee — 
And Thou didst come 
To take me home 

Within Thy Heart to be. 



Beaxjtiful, oh beautiful — 

In all the mountain passes 
The plenteous dowers of April showers, 

Which every spring amasses, 
To bring about thro' summer drought 

The blossoming of the grasses. 

Beautiful, oh beautiful — 

The April of the ages. 
Which sweetly brought its showers of thought 

To poets and to sages. 
Now stored away our thirst to stay 

In ever-dewy pages. 





Ihe clouded hill attend thou still. 

And him that went within. 

A. Clough. 

Not so indeed shall be our creed, — 

The Man whom we rely on 
Has brought us thro' from old to new, 

From Sinai to Zion. 
For us He scaled the hill of myrrh, 

The summits of His Passion, 
And is set down upon the throne 

Of infinite Compassion. 

He passed within the cloud that veiled 

The Mount of our Salvation, 
In utter darkness swallowed up 

Until the Consummation. 


The clouds are burst, the shades dispersed ; 

Descending from above 
With wounded hands our Prophet stands. 

And bears the Law of Love. 

Receive it then, believe it then. 

As childlike spirits can ; 
Receive, beheve, and thou shalt live. 

And thou shalt Love, O man ! 

Not so indeed shall be our creed, — 

To wait a new commission, 
As if again revealed to men 

Could be the heavenly Vision ; 
The priceless thing He died to bring 

From out the veU, to miss. 
While Host and Cup are lifted up 

On countless Calvarys. 

' Among the dead,' an angel said, 

' Seek not the living Christ.' 
The type is done, the real begun, 

Behold the Eucharist ! 
The curse is spent, the veil is rent, 

And face to face we meet Him, 


With chanting choirs and incense fires 
On every altar greet Him. 

Receive it then, believe it then, 

As childlike spirits can ; 
Receive, believe, and thou shalt live. 

And thou shalt Love, O man ! 




We hurry on, nor passing note 
The rounded hedges white with May ; 
For golden clouds before us float 
To lead our dazzled sight astray. 
We say, ' they shall indeed be sweet 
' The summer days that are to be ' — 
The ages murmur at our feet 
The everlasting mystery. 

We seek for Love to make our own, 
But clasp him not for all our care 
Of outspread arms ; we gain alone 
The flicker of his yellow hair 
Caught now and then through glancing vine, 
How rare, how fair, we dare not tell ; 
We know those sunny locks entwine 
With ruddy-fruited asphodel. 
OLBEN ( 49 ) ^ 


A little life, a little love. 
Young men rejoicing in their youth, 
A doubtful twilight from above, 
A glimpse of Beauty and of Truth, — 
And then, no doubt, spring-loveHness 
Expressed in havFthorns white and red. 
The sprouting of the meadow grass. 
But churchyard weeds about our head. 





Here in the flats that encompass the hills called Beauti- 
ful, lying, 

O Beloved, behold a Pilgrim who fain would be sleeping. 

Did not at times the snows that diadem summits above 

Break on his dreams, and scatter the slumberous mists 
from his eyelids, 

Flashing the consciousness back, by weariness half over- 

Of journeying unfulfilled and feet that have toiled but 
attained not. 

Then, in a sudden trance, (as the man whose eyes were 

But for a little while, then closed to night everlasting,) 

High on the slopes of the terraced hills a goodly pro- 
cession : 

( SI ) E 2 


White are the horses and white are the plumes and 

white are the vestures, 
White is the heaven above with pearls that the dawning 

is scattering, 
White beneath the flowerless fields that are hedged 

with the snowdrift. 
These are the Knights of the Lord, who fight with the 

Beast and the Prophet. 

Ho for the Knight that rideS in the splendour of 
opening manhood. 

Calm as Michael, when, out from the Beatifical Vision, 

Bearing the might of the Lord, he passed to conquer 
the Dragon. 

Yet, in those passionless eyes, if hitherward turned for 
a moment. 

Might not some memory waken of him whom he loved 
in the Distance, 

Ere from Holy Land the voice of the trumpet had 
sounded — 

' O Beloved ' — Enough ; the words unechoed, un- 

Fade with the vision away on the slopes of the Beauti- 
ful Mountains. 



Yet — remember me. Thou Captain of Israel's Knight- 

Thou to John made known in the Revelation of 





'TwAs not in shady cloister that God set His chosen one, 
But in the van of battle and the streets of Babylon : 
There he in patience served the days of his captivity, 
Until the King made known to him the City of the 

There One who watched in Salem once beside the 

And reckoned up the riches of the widow's penury. 
Received the offering of him who counted not the cost. 
But burnt his soul and body in a living holocaust. 

His life was in the Sanctuary and like a fountain sealed ; 
He to the Master's eyes alone its height and depth 

revealed ; 
Of that which every motion spoke he seldom told in 

But on his face was written up the secret of the Lord. 


Through many fiery places in innocence he trod ; 
We almost saw beside him one like the Son of God : 
Where'er he went a perfume about his presence hung, 
As the' within that shrine of flesh a mystic censer 

We never heard him laugh aloud, we know he often 

wept : 
We think the Bridegroom sometimes stood beside him 

as he slept. 
And set upon those virgin lips the signet of His love, 
That any other touch but His they never should 


He grew in grace and stature, he felt and understood 
The stirring of the passions and the movement of the 

And clung with deepening tenderness about the 

wounded Feet, 
And nestled in the Master's Breast with rapture new 

and sweet. 

He stayed till seventeen Aprils here had budded into 

Along the pleasant hedgerows that he knew not far 



But scarcely seventeen summers yet the lily-beds had 

Before the angels carried him to gardens of their own. 

They set the window open as the sun was going down : 
Beneath went on the hurry and roar of London town. 
But in the narrow room above the rush of life was done, 
In silence, once for ever, the victory was won. 

He came, the Strong, the Terrible, whose face the 

strongest fear, 
(O world, behold thy Spoiler spoiled, the Stronger 

Man is here) 
He came, the Loved, the Loveliest, whose Face the 

Saints desire, 
To be his Fellow-pilgrim thro' the water and the fire. 

Henceforth no more beneath the veils. Viaticum no 

But Rest and Consummation upon the other Shore. 
The bell was ringing Complin, the night began to fall ; 
They laid him in the ashes and waited for the caU. 


' Come up, come up from Lebanon,' he heard the 

Bridegroom say, 
' Come up, my Love, my sister, for the shadows flee 

And as upon his face they caught the breaking of that 

They spread his arms to fashion the Cross that he had 


A smile, a whispered ' Jesus ', then the fulness of the 

day : 
Made perfect in a little while his spirit passed away ; 
And leaning on the Bridegroom's arm he scaled the 

golden stair 
Through all the baffled legions of the powers of the air 

Beneath the secret Altar now he tarrieth the End. 
From earth he hears the pleadings of holy Mass ascend. 
From heaven the voice of Jesus, Who bids the angels 

To gather in the chosen to the Marriage and the Feast. 

( 57) 




From falsehood and error, 
From darkness and terror. 
From all that is evil, 
From the power of the devil, 
From the fire and the doom, 
From the judgement to come- 
Sweet Jesu, deliver 
Thy servants for ever. 






Once, on the river banks we knew, 
A child, who laughing ran to choose 
A lily there, essayed to tread 
The lawn of leaves that outward spread 
To where the very fairest blew, 
And slipped from love and life and light, 
Into the shiny depth beneath ; 
While through the tangle and the ooze 
Up bubbled all his little breath. 
Above, the lilies calmly white 
Were floating still at eventide. 
When, as it chanced, a boat went down 
Returning to the royal town. 
Wherein a noble lady lay 
Among the cushions dreamily. 
Who leant above the gilded side 
And plucked the flower carelessly, 
4.nd wore it at the ball that night. 





My Love, and once again my Love, 

And then no more until the end. 

Until the waters cease to move, 

Until we rest within the Ark, 

And all is light which now is dark. 

And loves can never more descend. 

And yet — and yet be just to me 

At least for manhood ; for the whole 

Love-current of a human soul. 

Though bent and rolled through fruitless virays, 

Tho' marred with slime and choked with weed, 

(Long lost the silver ripple-song, 

Long past the sprouting water-mead,) 

Is something avdul, broad and strong. 

Remember that this utterly. 

With all its waves of passion, set 

To you ; that all the water store, 

No second April shall restore, 


Was so to broken cisterns poured, 

And lost, or else long since had met 

The ocean-love of Christ the Lord. 

My Brother, hear me ; for the Name 

Which is as fire in my bones 

Has burned away the former shame ; 

Held I my peace, the very stones 

Would cry against me ; hear me then, 

Who will not bid you hear again. 

Hear what I saw, and why I fled, 

And how I lost and how I won, 

I, who between the quick and dead. 

Once chose corruption for my own. 

I saw, where heaven's arches meet. 

One stand in awfulness alone. 

With folded robe and gleaming feet 

And eyes that looked not up nor down. 

It was the archangel, drawing breath 

To blow for life, to blow for death. 

The glow and soft reality 

Of love and hfe grew cold and grey, 

And died before the Eternity 

That compasseth the Judgement day. 

1 said, ' My sin is full and ended ' ; 


While down the garden that we tended, 

As in a heavy dream, I turned 

Thro' lilied glades that once were sweet, 

Trampling the buds that kissed my feet. 

Until the sword above me burned. 

My hair was shrivelled to my head. 

My heart as ashes scorched, and dead 

As his who ere its beating died. 

The life imprisoned in my brain 

Burst to my eyes in throbs of pain. 

And all their tender springs were dried. 

For miles and miles the wilds I trod, 

Drunk with the angry wine of God ; 

Until the nets of anguish broke, 

Until the prisoner found release. 

I mused awhile in quietness 

Upon that strangest liberty : 

Then other fires intolerably 

Were kindled in me — and I spoke ; 

And so attained the hidden Peace, 

The land of Wells beyond the fire. 

The Face of loveliness unmarred. 

The Consummation of desire. 

O vesper-light ! O night thick-starred ! 


O five-fold springs, that upward burst 
And radiate from Calvary 
To stay the weary nations' thirst, 
And hide a world's impurity ! — 
How one drew near with soiled feet, 
Through all the Marah overflow, 
And how the waters were made sweet 
That night Thou knowest, — only Thou. 
Repent with me, for judgement waits. 
Repent with me, for Jesus hung 
Three hours upon the nails for you. 
Rise, bid the angels sing anew 
At every one of Sion's gates 
The song which then for me they sung. 





On the silent ages breaking 

Comes the sweet Annunciation : 

The eternal Ave waking, 

Changes Eva's condemnation. 

How at Nazareth the Archangel 
Hailed the dear predestined maiden 

Read from out the Great Evangel 
We, the sin and sorrow-laden. 

For to-day the Church rejoices 

In the angelic salutation. 
And to-day ten thousand voices 

Hail the Mother of salvation. 

Hail, amid the shades descending 
Round our humble oratory ! 

Hail, amid the light unending 
Of the beatific Glory ! 


Hail, in city Galilean 

To the maid of lowly Station ! 

Hail, in city empyrean 

To the Queen of all creation ! 

Hail, O Mother of compassion ! 

Hail, O Mother of fair love ! 
Hail, our Lady of the Passion ! 

Hail beneath and hail above ! 

Where she stands, our mother Mary, 

In her human majesty. 
Nearest to the sanctuary 

Of the awful Trinity. 

May she prove once more a Mother, 
Plead that He, her dearest Son, 

Who through her became our Brother, 
Would His sinful brethren own. 

With the Father and the Spirit, 
Son of Mary, Thee we praise ; 

By Thine Incarnation's merit 
Turn on us a Brother's face ! 


DOLBEN ( 65 ) F 




My sister Death ! I pray thee come to me 

Of thy sweet charity, 
And be my nurse but for a little while ; 

I will indeed lie still, 
And not detain thee long, when once is spread. 

Beneath the yew, my bed : 
I will not ask for lilies or for roses ; 

But when the evening closes. 
Just take from any brook a single knot 

Of pale Forget-me-not, 
And lay them in my hand, until I wake, 

For his dear sake ; 
(For should he ever pass and by me stand, 

He yet might understand — ") 
Then heal the passion and the fever 

With one cool kiss, for ever. 






Near the Cimmerian, land, deep-caverned, lies 
A hollow mount, the home of sluggish Sleep ; 
Where never ray from morn or evening skies 
Can enter, but where blackening vapours creep, 
And doubtful gloom unbroken sway doth keep. 

There never crested bird evokes the dawn, 
Nor watchful dogs disturb the silence deep, 
Nor wandering beast, nor forest tempest-torn, 
Nor harsher sound of human passions born. 

Mute quiet reigns ; — but from the lowest cave 

A spring Lethean rising evermore 

Pours through the murmuring rocks a slumberous 

The plenteous poppy blossoms at the door, 
And countless herbs, of night the drowsy store. 

( 67 ) ' * 




Ajter Catullui 

Hear the choir of boy and maid, 
Mighty child of mightiest Jove, 
Thou whom royal mother laid 
In the Delian olive grove — 

That thou mightest be the lady 
Of aU vs^oods that bud in spring, 
Of all glades remote and shady. 
Of all rivers echoing. 

Thou wert cradled 'mid the seas. 
Guarded was thine infant state 
With the glistening Cyclades, 
With the wave inviolate— 

That thou mightest be the warden 

Of all holy loves and pure. 

When, as in a fenced garden, 

Chaste affections bloom secure. 


Hear the choir of boy and maid, 
Mighty child of mightiest Jove : 
Take the wreath before thee laid. 
Take the incense of our love. 






Drink, in the glory of youth ; 

love, crowned with, roses of summer : 
So be it only with me 

be mad, be wise as thou listest. 



In vain you count his virtues up, 
His soberness commend ; 

I like a steady servant, 
But not a steady friend. 





Lilies, lilies not for me, 
Flowers of the pure and saintly — 
I have seen in holy places 
Where the incense rises faintly. 
And the priest the chalice raises, 
Lilies in the altar vases. 
Not for me. 

Leave untouched each garden tree, 
Kings and queens of flower-land. 
When the summer evening closes, 
Lovers may-be hand in hand 
There will seek for crimson roses. 
There will bind their wreaths and posies 

From the corn-fields where we met 
Pluck me poppies white and red ; 
(71 ) 


Bind them round my weary brain. 
Strew them on my narrow bed, 
Numbing all the ache and pain. — 
I shall sleep nor wake again, 
But forget. 

(72 ) 




Beyond the calumny and wrong, 
Beyond the clamour and the throng, 
Beyond the praise and triumph-song 

He passed. 
Beyond the scandal and the doubt, 
The fear within, the fight without. 
The turmoil and the battle-shout 

He sleeps. 

The world for him was not so sweet 
That he should grieve to stay his feet 
Where youth and manhood's highways meet. 

And die. 
For every child a mother's breast, 
For every bird a guarded nest ; 
For him alone was found no rest 

But this. 


Beneath the flight of happy hours, 
Beneath the withering of the flowers 
In folds of peace more sure than ours 

He lies. 
A night no glaring dawn shall break, 
A sleep no cruel voice shall wake. 
An heritage that none can take 

Are his. 

( 74) 





I SAID — ' 'Tis very late we meet ; 

' A guest long since has filled each seat 

' About my hearth ; yet rest 
' A little while beside the door ; 
' Although the east shaU glow no more, 

' Some light is in the west, 

' And gathers round the wayside inn, 
' Whence all the mountain paths begin : 

' Pause, ere you onward go, 
' And sing, while gazing up the height, 
' The guarded valley of delight 

' We both have left below.' 

Was it not somewhat thus, my friend ?- 
But now your rest has reached its end. 

And upwards you must strive. 
Ah now I thank you that you stayed, 
That you so royally repaid 

All that I had to give. 


For the sweet temperance of your youth, 
Unconscious chivalry and truth, 

And simple courtesies ; 
A soul as clear as southern lake, 
Yet strong as any cliffs that break 

The might of northern seas ; 

For these I loved you well, — and yet 
Could neither you nor I forget. 

But spent we soberly 
The autumn days, that lay between 
The skirts of glory that had been. 

Of glory that should be. 

Unlike the month of snowy flowers, 
Unlike my April's rainbowed showers. 

My consummate July 
Those autumn days ; and yet they wept 
Tears soft not sad, for all they kept 

Of summer's greenery. 

We loved the tarn with rocky shore, 
We loved to tread the windy moor, 
And many a berried lane ; 


But most where, swollen with rains and rills, 
The waters of a hundred hills 

Go hurrying down the plain ; 

Where plenteous apples wax and fall. 
And stud o'er many a leafy hall 

The vaults with fiery gems : 
But often through their golden gleams 
Flowed-in the river of my dreams. 

The lilied river Thames. 

Then on another arm I leant, 

And then once more with him I went 

Thro' field and wharf and town ; 
And love caught up the flying hours, 
And eyes that were not calm as yours 

Were imaged in my own. 

A grave good-bye I bid you now ; 
Not lightly, but as those who know 

Fair hospitality. 
O loyal heart, be loyal still. 
And happy, happy where you will. 

And sometimes think of me. 




Virgin born of Virgin, 
To Thy shelter take me : 

Purest, holiest Jesu, 

Chaste and holy make me. 

Wisdom, power and beauty. 
These are not for me ; 

Give me, give me only 
Perfect Chastity. 

By Thy Flagellation, 

Flesh immaculate — 
By Thine endless glory. 

Manhood consummate — 

By Thy Mother Mary, 
By Thine Angel-host, 

By the Monks and Maidens 
Who have loved Thee most, 


Keep my flesh and spirit, 
Eyes and ears and speech, 

Taste and touch and feeling, 
Sanctify them each. 

Through the fiery furnace 
Walk, O Love, beside me ; 

In the provocation 

From the tempter hide me. 

When they come about me. 
Dreams of earthly passion. 

Drive O drive them from me, 
Of Thy sweet compassion : 

For to feed beside Thee 
With the Virgin choir. 

In the vale of lilies. 
Is my one desire. 

Not for might and glory 

Do I ask above, 
Seeking of Thee only 

I.ove and love and love. 





Tell us, tell us, holy shepherds, 
What at Bethlehem you saw. — 

' Very God of Very God 
' Asleep amid the straw.' 

Tell us, tell us, all ye faithful. 

What this morning came to pass 
At the awful elevation 

In the Canon of the Mass. — • 
' Very God of Very God, 

' By whom the worlds were made, 
' In silence and in helplessness 

' Upon the altar laid.' 

Tell us, tell us, wondrous Jesu, 

What has drawn Thee from above 

To the manger and the altar. — 

All the silence answers — ^Love. 


Through the roaring streets of London 
Thou art passing, hidden Lord, 

Uncreated, Consubstantial, 
In the seventh heaven adored. 

As of old the ever- Virgin 

Through unconscious Bethlehem 
Bore Thee, not in glad procession. 

Jewelled robe and diadem ; 
Not in pomp and not in power, 

Onward to Nativity, 
Shrined but in the tabernacle 

Of her sweet Virginity. 

Still Thou goest by in silence. 
Still the world cannot receive. 

Still the poor and weak and weary 
Only, worship and believe. 

f 8i ) 





/ fray you this my song to take 
Not scornfully, for Boyhood's sake ; 
It is the last, until the day 
When your kind eyes shall lid me say 
Take, Archie, not of mine hut me. 
And he mine only Poetry, 


Methought the sun in terror made his bed, 
The gentle stars in angry lightning fell, 
And shuddering winds thro' aU the woodland fled. 
Pulling in every tree a passing bell. 
That night, on all the glory and the grace 
There rolled a numbing mist, and wrapped from sight 
The greening fields of my delightsome land, 
Mildewing every tender bud to blight, — 


As the grey change o'erspreads a dying face — 
Till, corpse-like, stretched beneath a pall of skies, 
Earth stared at heaven with open sightless eyes ; 
Then in the hush went forth the soul of life, 
Drawn through the darkness by a gleaming hand : 
The strength of agony awoke, and strove 
Awhile for mastery to hold it back. 
But comet-like, beyond the laws of love. 
Branding the blackness with a fiery track 
It passed to space ; and, wearied of the strife. 
In the great after calm, I passed to sleep. 

Did they not call ambrosial the night 
And holy once ? when (from the feet of God 
Set on the height where circles round and full 
The rainbow of perfection) starry troops 
Came floating, aureoled in dreamy light. 
And gracious dews distilling, as they trod 
The poppied plains of slumber. — Ah too dull 
My sense, such visions for my aid to call, 
My sleep too dry with fever, for the fall 
Of those strange dews, which quicken withered hopes. 

( 83 ) G 2 




And yet why strive to syllable my loss 
In chilly metaphors of night and sleep ? 
Leap in, O Love, O Flame divine, yea leap 
Upon them, shrivel them like paper ; so, 
In that refining fire, the encircling dross 
Of vsfords shall melt away ; then will I keep, 
Stored in a silent Treasury I know. 
The pure reality, that in the spring — 
The resurrection of all loveliness — 
For me a star shall pierce the eastern cloud. 
And western breezes bear the tender rain ; 
For me a crocus flower shall burst its shroud. 
My Love, my buried Love, shall rise again. 

Blow, winds, and make the fields a wilderness ; 
Roar, hurrying rivers to the weary sea ; 
Fall, cruel veils of snow, as desolate 
As human hearts, when passion fires have burnt 
To greyest ash ; — I shall nor hear nor see. 

Within that Treasure-house of mine I wait, 
I wait, with Eros glowing at my side , 
From him, the mighty artist, I have learned 
How memories to brushes may be tied ; 


And tho' I moistened all my paints with tears. 
Yet on my walls as joyous imagery, 
With golden hopes inframed, now appears 
As e'er of old was dreamed to vivify 
Ionian porticoes, when Greece was young, 
And wreathed with glancing vine Anacreon sung. 
Here, on the granite headland he is set, 
Like Michael in his triumph, and the waves 
In wild desire have tossed about his feet 
Their choicest pearls ; — and, here, he softly laves 
Limbs delicate, where beechen boughs are wet 
With jewelled drops and all is young and sweet ; — 
And here, a stranded hly on the beach, 
My Hylas, coronalled with curly gold. 
He lies beyond the water's longing reach 
Him once again essaying to enfold ; — 
Here, face uplifted to the twinkling sky 
He walks, like Agathon the vastly-loved, 
TiU with the dear Athenian I cry, 
' My Star of stars, would I might heaven be, 
Night-long, with many eyes, to gaze on thee ! '— 
And here, like Hyacinthus, as he moved 
Among the flowers, ere flower-like he sank 
Too soon to fade on green Eurotas' bank. 


But it is profanation now to speak 
Of thoughtless Hellene boys, or to compare 
The majesty and spiritual grace 
Of that design which consummates the whole. 
It is himself, as I have watched him, where 
The mighty organ's great Teutonic soul 
Passed into him and lightened in his face. 
And throbbed in every nerve and fired his cheek. 

See, Love, I sing not of thee now alone. 
But am become a painter all thine own. 


Ah now in truth how shall we, can we meet ? 

Or wilt thou come to me through careless eyes, 

Loveliest 'mid the unlovely, in the street ? 

Or will thy voice be there, to harmonize 

The clanging and the clamour, where beneath 

The panting engines draw their burning breath f 

Or shall I have to seek thee in a throng 

Of noble comrades round thee ? — have to pass 

The low luxurious laugh, or merry song, 

The piled golden fruit, and flashing glass ? 

I care not much ; however it may be, 

Eyes, ears and heart will compass only thee. 


Yet could I choose, then surely would I fix 
Oa that half-light, whose very name is sweet. 
The gloaming, when the sun and moonbeams mix. 
And light and darkness on each other rest 
Like lovers' lips, uncertain, tremulous ; 
And the All-mother's heart is loth to beat 
And break their union : then, I think, 'twere best 
To find thee pacing 'neath the sprouting boughs 
Of lime, alone — for so I saw thee first, 
When scarce my rose's crimson life had burst 
In blushes, from its calix to the sun. 
Alone — throughout my love has been apart ; 
When seen, then misconceived so utterly, 
I liken it (forgive the vanity) 
To those vermilion shades since light begun 
Existing, but which Turner only drew, 
While pointing critics had their little say, 
And all the world cried out, of course they knew 
Much better than the sun, could tell the way 
To colour him and his by proper rules. 
And Claude was great, great, great in all the schools 
As once Ephesian Dian. — Matters it 
To him, or you, or me ? While truth is truth. 
And love is love, you'll answer — Not a whit. 
( 87) 




Enough, the yearning is unsatisfied, 

Resolved again into a plea for faith. 

Believe the true elixir is wathin, 

Although I sought to dravy from that full tide 

Some crystal drops of evidence, to win 

A little vapour only — yet believe, 

Believe the essence of a perfect love 

Is there, and wrorthy. Not a tinge of shame 

My wfords can colour. Of thine own receive, 

Yes, of thy very being. It shall prove 

Indeed a poem, though without a name. 





There is a shrine whose golden gate 
Was opened by the Hand of God ; 

It stands serene, inviolate, 
Though miUions have its pavement trod ; 

As fresh, as when the first sunrise 

Awoke the lark in Paradise. 

'Tis compassed with the dust and toil 
Of common days, yet should there fall 

A single speck, a single soil 
Upon the whiteness of its wall, 

The angels' tears in tender rain 

Would make the temple theirs again. 

Without, the world is tired and old, 
But, once within the enchanted door, 

The mists of time are backward rolled, 
And creeds and ages are no more ; 

But all the human-hearted meet 

In one communion vast and sweet. 


I enter — all is simply fair, 

Nor incense-clouds, nor carven throne 
But in the fragrant morning air 

A gentle lady sits alone ; 
My mother — ah ! whom should I see 
Within, save ever only thee ? 




One night I dreamt that in a gleaming hall 
You played, and overhead the air was sweet 
With waving kerchiefs ; then a sudden fall 
Of flowers ; and jewels clashed about your feet. 
Around you glittering forms, a starry ring, 
In echo sang of youth and golden ease : 
You leant to me a moment, crying — ' Sing, 
' If, as you say, you love me, sing with these.' — 

In vain my lips were opened, for my throat 
Was choked somewhence, my tongue was sore and dry. 
And in my soul alone the answering note ; 
Till, in a piercing discord, one shrill cry. 
As of a hunted creature, from me broke. 
You laughed, and in great bitterness I woke. 




I THANK thee, Love, that thou hast overthrown 
The tyranny of Self ; I would not now 
Even in desire, possess thee mine alone 
In land-locked anchorage : nay rather go, 
Ride the high seas, the fruitless human seas, 
Where white-winged ships are set for barren shores. 
Though freighted all, those lovely argosies. 
And laden with a wealth of rarest stores. 

Go, draw them after thee, and lead them on 
With thine own music, to the ideal west, 
Where, in the youth of ages, vaguely shone 
The term of all, the Islands of the Blest. 

I too dare steer, for once-loved haven's sake, 
My tiny skiff along thy glorious wake. 





A BOYISH friendship ! No, respond the chimes, 
The years of chimes fulfilled since we parted, 
Since ' au revoir ' you said among the limes, 
And passed away in silence tender-hearted. 
I hold it cleared by time that not of heat. 
Or sudden passion my great Love was born : 
I hold that years the calumny defeat 
That it would fade as freshness off the morn. 

That it was fathered not by mean desire 
Of eye and ear, doth cruel distance prove. — 
My life is cleft to steps that lift it higher. 
And with my growing manhood grows my Love. 

Then come and tread the fruits of disconnection 
To the sweet vintage of your own perfection. 

(93 ) 



COME, m.j king, and fill the palaces 

Where sceptred Loss too long hath held her state, 
With courts of Joyaunce, and a laughing breeze 
Of voices. — If thou wiliest, come ;, — I wait 
Unquestioning, no servant, but thy slave. 

1 plead no merit, and no claim for wages, 

Nor that sweet favour which my sovereign gave 
In other days, of his own grace : but pages 
Are privileged to linger at the door 
With longing eyes, while nobles kiss the hand 
Of him the noblest, though elect no more 
To touch the train, or at the throne to stand. 

But come, content me with the lowest place, 
So be it that I see thy royal face. 





Think, kind Jesu, my salvation 
Caused Thy wondrous Incarnation, 
Leave me not to reprobation. 

Faint and weary Thou hast sought me. 
On the Cross of anguish bought me ; 
Shall such grace be vainly brought me ? 

Behold me will-less, witless in the niglit ; 
With hands that feel the illimitable dark 
I walk, untouched, untouching ; every face 
Is senseless as a mask, save when I cry 
* O little children turn away your eyes.' — 
This for the day ; but when the hush is spread 
Wherein Thou givest Thy beloved sleep, 
I call Thee to my witness — though I sin, 
I suffer : I confess, do all we can 
Thou art not mocked, nor dost Thou mock at us. 
Who laughs to scorn the anger of a babe ? 


Or who despises infants, if they play 

At building houses ? so we storm and toil, 

And squander all our passion and our thought, 

And Thou regardest not ; for on us lies 

The weight of everlasting nothingness. 

War with the angels ; neither war nor peace 

With us, who flutter willing to our doom. 

And need no sword to drive from Paradise. 

See, I believe more fully than the Saint 

Who trod the waters in the might of love. 

See, I believe, and own him for the fool 

Who saith ' there is no God ', and therefore sins. 

Believe — what profit in it f I have loved : — 

Ay, once I strained and stretched thro' haze of doubt 

If haply I might catch with passionate hand 

The garment-hem of Thee : I half believed. 

But wholly loved ; once (Thou rememberest) prayed, 

' I love Thee, love Thee ; only give me light. 

And I will follow Thee where'er Thou goest.' 

' I will ' I said and knew not ; now I know 

And will not, cannot wiU. .... 

What ? Is a way cleft thro' the stony floors, 
And dost Thou stand Thyself above the stair, 


In Thine old sweetness and benignity, 
Spreading Thy wounded hands, and saying ' Son, 
Thou sinnest, I have suffered. Mount and see 
The fulness of my Passion : though these steps 
Be hard to flesh and blood, remember this. 
That along all intolerable paths 
The benediction of my feet hath passed. 

To gentleness so inexpressible. 

To love so far beyond imagining 

I answer not ; but in my soul fill up 

The faint conception of the artist monk, 

Who soared with Paul into the seventh heaven, 

But could not paint the anger of the Lamb. 

I seem to lie for ever in some porch. 

While down the nave there creeps the awful dirge, 

And writhes about the piUars — whispering 

The uttermost extremity of man : 

Till the low music ceases ; and a scream 

Breaks shuddering from the choir, ' Let me not 

Be burnt in fires undying.' • * « 

And some are there unscathed of flame or sword, 

DOLBEN ( 97 ) " 


Yet on their brows the seal of suffering, 

And in their hands the rose of martyrdom, 

(Have pity upon me, ye that were my friends) 

With arms about each other, — aureoles 

That mingle into one triumphant star ; 

A fount of wonder in their pensive eyes. 

Sprung from the thought that pain is consummate- 

' To him that overcometh ' — ^half forgotten 

The victory, so long the battle was, 

Begun when manhood was a thing to be : 

Not as they send the boyish sailor out, 

A father's lingering hand amid his hair, 

A mother's kisses warm upon his cheek. 

And in his heart the unspoken consciousness 

That though upon his grave no gentle fingers 

Shall set the crocus, yet in the old home 

There shall be aye a murmur of the sea, 

A fair remembrance and a tender pride. 

Not so for these the dawn of battle rose. 

So one by one the knights were panoplied. 


But now they enter in where never voice 

Of clamorous Babylon shall vex them more, 

To Syon the undivided, to the peace, 

The given peace earth neither makes nor mars, 

Beyond the angels, and the angels' Queen, 

Beyond the avenues of saints, where rests. 

Deep in the Beatifical Idea, 

The sum of peace, the Human Heart of God. 

Ah ! whose is that red rose that only lies 
Unclaimed # # 

Five knots of snowdrops on the garden bank 
Beneath the hill — ^how satisfied they seem 
Against the barren hedge, wherein by this 
The pleasant saps and juices are astir 
To work the greening snowdrops do not see. 
I leaning from my window am in doubt 
If summer brings a flower so loveable. 
Of such a meditative restfulness 
As this, with all her roses and carnations. 
The morning hardly stirs their noiseless bells ; 
Yet could I fancy that they whispered ' Home ', 
For all things gentle all things beautiful 

( 99 ) H 2 


I hold, my mother, for a part of thee. 

• »****• 
As watered grass beyond the glaring street, 
As drop of evening on a fighting field, 
As convent bells that chime for complin- tide 
Heard in the gas-light of the theatre. 
So unto me the image of a face, 
A certain face that all the angels know. 

****** in 

Bright are the diadems of all pure loves, 
But none so bright as that whereon are set 
The mingled names of Father and of Mother. 
Dear are true friends, and sweet is gratitude 
For grateful deeds ; but what the sum of all 
To that perennial love we hardly thank 
More than the sun for shining while 'tis day, 
Or at the dusk the cheerful candlelight ? 

How wholly fair is all without my soul. 
The evershifting lights upon the hills. 
The eastern flush upon the beechen stems. 
And the green network of ascending paths 
Wherein again the spring shall bid us ride, 
With all the blood aglow along our veins, 
( lOO ) 


And every mountain be ' delectable ', 
And every plain a pleasant land of Beulah. 

* » * # K * * 

Suppose it but a fancy that it groaned, 
This dear creation, — rather let it sing 
In an exuberance and excess of gladness. 

W * * * * i> i! 

Suppose a kindly mother-influence . 

And sin alone a transitory fever, 
For which in some mysterious Avilon 
Beyond the years, some consummate Hereafter, 
A fount of healing springs for all alike. 

« « * « 
No, Love ! Love ! Love ! Thou knowest that I 

I cannot live without Thee. Yet this way — 
Is there no other road to Calvary 
Than the one way of sorrows ? « q 

m ***** ii 

I thought I lay at home and watched the glow 
The ruddy fire-light cast about my bed ; 
Upon me undefinable the sense 
Of something dreadful, till I slept and dreamed. 
( loi ) 


The Dream 

I stood amid the lights that never die, 
The only stars the dawning passes by, 
Beneath the whisper of the central dome 
That holds and hides the mystic heart of Rome. 

But in mine eyes the light of other times. 
And in mine ears the sound of English chimes ; 
I smelled again the freshness of the morn. 
The primal incense of the daisied lawn. 

* * * I said 
' And have I come so very far indeed ? ' 

The everlasting murmur echoes ' Far 
As from green earth is set the furthest star 
Men have not named. A journey none retrace 
Is thine, and steps the seas could not efface.' 
' How cold and pitiless is the voice of Truth,' 
I cried ; ' Ah ! who will give me my lost youth ? 
Ah ! who restore the years the locust ate. 
Hard to remember, harder to forget ? ' 
( 102 ) 


A multitude of voices sweet and grave, 
A long procession up the sounding nave. 

' The Lion of the tribe of Judah, He 
Has conquered, but in Wounds and Agony. 
The ensign of His triumph is the Rood, 
His royal robe is purple, but with Blood. 

And we who follow in His Martyr-train 
Have access only thro' the courts of pain. 
Yet on the Via dolorosa He 
Precedes us in His sweet humanity. 

A Man shall be a covert from the heat, 
Whereon in vain the sandy noon shall beat : 
A Man shall be a perfect summer sun. 
When all the western lights are paled and gone. 

A Man shall be a Father, Brother, Spouse, 
A land, a city and perpetual House : 
A Man shall lift us to the Angels' shore : 
A Man shall be our God for evermore.' 
( 103 ) 


Christ, God, or rather Jesu, it is true, 
True the old story of Gethsemane. 
Remember then the unfathomed agony 
That touched "upon the caverns of despair, 
Whence never diver hath regain'd the sun. — 
Thou knowest, but I know not ; save me then 
From beating the impenetrable rock. 
By that Thine hour of weakness be my Strength, 
And I wUl follow Thee where'er Thou goest. 

( 104 ) 




Strain them, O winds, the sails of the years. 

Outspread on the mystic sea ; 
Faster and faster, for laughter or tears, 

O bear my story to me ! 
Waft it, O Love, on thy purple wings, 

The dawn is breaking to pass : 
Strike it, O Life, from thy deeper strings, 

And drown the music that was. 

Yet lovely the tremulous haze 
That curtained the dreamful afar, 
Thro' the which some face, like a star. 
Would lighten, too sudden for praise. 
And white were our loves on their way 
As morn on the hills of the south ; 
The kisses that rounded their mouth 
As fresh as the grasses in May. 
( 105) 


They passed ; but the silvery pain 
Of our tears was easily told, — 
For the day but an hour was old, 
At noon we should meet them again. 

Weary am I of ideal and of mist. 

The shroud of life that is dead ; — 
And, as the passionate sculptor who kissed 

The lips of marble to red, 
Ask I a breath that is part of my own, 

Yet drawn from a soul more sweet ; — 
Or, as the shaft that upsoareth alone 

Undiademed, incomplete, 
Claim I the glory predestined to me 

In the Mother Builder's will. 
Portion and place in the Temple to be 

Till the age her times fulfil. 

( io6) 





From the Italian 

I, LIVING, drew thee from the vale 
Parnassus' height to climb w^ith me, 

I, dying, bid thee turn, and scale 
Alone the hill of Calvary, 

( 107 ) 




The world is young today : 
Forget the gods are old, 
Forget the years of gold 

When all the months were May. 

A little flower of Love 
Is ours, without a root, 
Without the end of fruit, 

Yet — take the scent thereof. 

There may be hope above, 
There may be rest beneath ; 
We see them not, but Death 

Is palpable — and Love. 

( 108 ) 





When all my words were said, 
When all my songs were sung^ 
I thought to pass among 

The unforgotten dead, 

A Queen of ruth to reign 

With her, who gathereth tears 
From all the lands and years. 

The Lesbian maid of pain ; 

That lovers, when they wove 
The double myrtle-wreath, 
Should sigh with mingled breath 

Beneath the wings of Love : 

' How piteous were her wrongs. 

Her words were falling dew. 

All pleasant verse she knew, 

But not the Song of songs.' 
( 109 ) 


Yet now, O Love, that you 
Have kissed my forehead, I 
Have sung indeed, can die, 

And be forgotten too. 

(no ) 



0, a moon face 

In a shadowy place. 

Lean over me — ah so, — ^let fall 

About my face and neck the shroud 
That thrills me as a thunder-cloud 

Full of strange lights, electrical. 

Sweet moon, with pain and passion wan. 
Rain from thy loneliness of light 
The primal kisses of the night 

Upon a new Endymion ; 

The boy who, wrapped from moil and moan, 
With cheeks for ever round and fair, 
Is dreaming of the nights that were 

When lips immortal touched his own. 

I marked an old man yesterday, 

His body many-fingered grief 

Distorted as a frozen leaf ; 

He fell, and cursed the rosy way. 


O better than a century 

Of heavy years that trail the feet, 
More full of being, more complete 

A stroke of time with youth and thee. 

( 112) 




Sing me the men ere this 
Who, to the gate that is 
A cloven pearl uprapt. 
The big white bars between 
With dying eyes have seen 
The sea of jasper, lapt 
About with crystal sheen ; 

And all the far pleasance 
Where linked Angels dance, 
With scarlet wings that fall 
Magnifical, or spread 
Most sweetly over-head, 
In fashion musical. 
Of cadenced lutes instead. 

Sing me the town they saw 
Withouten fleck or flaw, 
n-BEN ( 113 ) 


Aflame, more fine than glass 
Of fair Abbayes the boast. 
More glad than wax of cost 
Doth make at Candlemas 
The Lifting of the Host : 

Where many Knights and Dames, 

With new and wondrous names, 

One great Laudate Psalm 

Go singing down the street ; — 

'Tis peace upon their feet. 

In hand 'tis pilgrim palm 

Of Goddes Land so sweet :— 

Where Mother Mary walks 
In silver hly stalks. 
Star-tired, moon-bedight ; 
Where Cecily is seen, 
With Dorothy in green. 
And Magdalen all white. 
The maidens of the Queen. 

Sing on — the Steps untrod. 
The Temple that is God, 
( "4) 


Where incense doth ascend, 
Where mount the cries and tears 
Of all the dolorous years, 
With moan that ladies send 
Of durance and sore fears : — 

And Him who sitteth there, 
The Christ of purple hair. 
And great eyes deep with ruth. 
Who is of all things fair 
That shall be, or that were. 
The sum, and very truth. 
Then add a little prayer. 

That since all these be so, 
Our Liege, who doth us know, 
Would fend from Sathanas, 
And bring us, of His grace, 
To that His joyous place : 
So we the Doom may pass. 
And see Him in the Face. 

( "S > 12 




Where in dawnward Sicily 
Gentle rivers wed the sea, 
Bitter life was given me. 

Gods that are most desolate 
For their loveliness and state^ 
Being made the mock of fate, 

Mingling wine with ruddy fire 
And the passion of the lyre, 
Filled my veins with all desire. 

Twain the robes they fashioned me, 
Dainty, delicate to see, 
Girt about with mockery : 

Dowers twain for me they planned. 

Holding in their other hand 

All my times, an hour's sand ; — 

Love, the mystic rose of life, 
Grafted with a sanguine knife 
On the thorns of sin and strife ; 

Poetry, the hand that wrings 
(Bruised albeit at the strings) 
Music from the soul of things. 

But to either gift a mate 

Added they in subtle hate — 

This the trick they learned of Fate ;- 

Shame, to draw the tender blood 
From the palm of maidenhood. 
Leaving it a yellow rod ; 

Weariness of all that is, 
Tired sorrow, tired bliss. 
Nothing is more sore than this. 

Therefore turn thy eyes on me, 
O Thou Praise of Sicily, 
Honey-sweet Persephone, 


Who, beyond all ban and bale, 
With supreme compassion pale, 
Spreadest quiet for a veil. 

In the soft Catanian hills, 
Gleaming by the gleaming rills 
Yet are blown thy daffodils ; 

See, I bear them as is meet. 
Lay them on thy pallid feet. 
Where in marble thou art sweet. 

Hear the story of my wrong, 
Thou to whom all perished song 
And departed loves belong. 

Even as the maiden grass, 
Recreating all that pass. 
Mine exceeding beauty was. 

Men, who heard me singing, said 

' Bays are heavy on thy head ; 

' Take a myrtle leaf instead '. 


' How shall Eros' call be still ' — 
Ever answered I — ' until 
* Anteros the song fulfil ? ' 

Once at vesper-tide I sat 
In a bower of pomegranate, 
Where it was my use to wait. 

Till the hour of phantasies 
Bade my soul's desire arise 
Veiled, against the blinded skies ; 

But unveiled he came to me, 
With the passion of the sea, 
That night, by the scarlet tree. 

Lightly from the boat he leapt ; 
Snowy surge the shingle swept ; 
Whiter were his feet that stepped 

Up the jewelled beach ; — and on 
As a pillared flame he shone, 
Clear, and glad to look upon. 


Was he one whom years alloy 
Or the god of ageless joy, 
Dionysos, or a boy ? 

Never was such hair, I wist. 

Lighted as a water-mist, 

In the noons of amethyst ; — 

Eyes, of colour only seen 

Where the far waves' palest green 

Faints into the azure sheen. 

There his eyes were full on me 
With the passion of the sea. 
That night, by the scarlet tree. 

' Lily of the amber west, 
' Whither over ocean's breast 
' Suns and heroes drop to rest, 

' From the morning lands I come, 

' Laughing through the laughing foam, 

' Seeking Love in Vesper's home. 

( 120) 


' Sudden as the falling star, 
' Winged as the victor car, 
' Nears the doom to blight and mar. 

* Full desire, and faint delight, 

' Words that leap, and lips that bite 
' With the panther hthe and light, — 

' These — ^while blushes bud and blow, 

* While Hfe's purple torrents flow — 
' If we know not, shall we know f 

* Are they hid beyond the hours ? 

' ShaU they feed on lotus-flowers ? 
' Warm us in the sunless bowers ? 

* Thou art beautiful, and I 

' Beautiful ; I know not why, 
' Save to love before we die.' 

But a day — a year is sped 

Since these words were sung or said. 

Since he loved me — ^he is dead. 

( 121 ) 



Far above the shaken trees. 
In the pale blue palaces, 
Laugh the high gods at their ease : 
We with tossed incense woo them, 
We with all abasement sue them. 
But shall never climb unto them. 
Nor see their faces. 

Sweet my sister, Queen of Hades, 
Where the quiet and the shade is. 
Of the cruel deathless ladies 
Thou art pitiful alone. 
Unto thee I make my moan, 
Who the ways of earth hast known 
And her green places. 

Feed me with thy lotus-flowers. 
Lay me in thy sunless bowers. 
Whither shall the heavy hours 
( 122 ) 


Never trail their hated feet, 
Making bitter all things sweet ; 
Nevermore shall creep to meet 
The perished dead. 

There 'mid shades innumerable, 
There in meads of asphodel, 
Sleeping ever, sleeping well, 
They who toiled and who aspired. 
They, the lovely and desired, 
With the nations of the tired 
Have made their bed. 

There is neither fast nor feast. 
None is greatest, none is least ; 
Times and orders all have ceased. 
There the bay-leaf is not seen ; 
Clean is foul and foul is clean ; 
Shame and glory, these have been 
But shall not be. 

When we pass away in fire. 
What is found beyond the pyre ? 
Sleep, the end of all desire. 
( "3 ) 


Lo, for this the heroes fought ; 
This the gem the merchant bought, 
This the seal of laboured thought 
And subtilty. 

( 124 ) 




Unto the central height of purple Rome, — 

The crown of martyrdom, 
Set as a heart within the passionate plain 

Of triumph and of pain, 
Where common roses in their blow and bud 

Speak empire and show blood — 
From colourless flowers and from breasts that burn. 

Mother ! to thee we turn. 
The phantom light before thee flees and faints, 

O City of the Saints ! 
In whom, with palms and wounds, there tarrieth 

The unconquerable faith ; 
Where, as on Carmel, our Elijah stands 

Above the faithless lands ; 
But conscious of earth's evening, not of them. 

Lifts <"Oward Jerusalem, 
Where is the altar of High Sacrifice, 

His full prophetic eyes. . . , 




Methought, through many years and lands, 

I sped along an arrowy flood, 
That leapt and lapt my face and hands, 

I knew not were it fire or blood. 

I saw no sun in any place ; 

A ghastly glow about me spread. 
Unlike the light of nights and days. 

From out the depth where wTithe the dead. 

I passed — their fleshless arms uprose 
To draw me to the depths,beneath : 

My eyes forgot the power to close, 
As other men's, in sleep or death. 

I saw the end of every sin ; 

I weighed the profit and the cost ; 
I felt Eternity begin, 

And all the ages of the lost. 
( 126) 


The Crucifix was on my breast ; 

I pressed the nails against my side ; 
And unto Him, Who knew no rest 

For thirty years, I turned and cried : 

* Sweet Lord ! I say not, give me ease ; 

Do what Thou wilt, Thou doest good ; 
And all Thy saints went up to peace. 

In crowns of fire or robes of blood.' 



Theke exist original MSS. of all the poems in this volume 
with the exception of numbers 46, 48, and 50. These three are 
edited from copies. [Originals of 46 and 50 have since been found, 
so that only 48 is now missing. See note to 46.] 

The writing is plain, so that there is never any doubt about 
a word. The punctuation is so careless as to be generally worth- 
less. There are commas and full-stops, but these gre often mis- 
placed, and all kinds of pauses are frequently indicated by a dash. 
My rule in punctuation has been to observe the original where 
possible, — interpreting the dashes, where they merely disfigure 
the text, in the simplest manner : but in those cases where an 
ambiguity in the grammar or the concatenation of clauses would 
be resolved by systematic punctuation, I have left it unresolved, 
if there was any uncertainty as to which of two constructions 
was intended. Examples of this are p. 52, the fourth and fifth 
verses from the end, which have their original stopping ; and the 
second stanza of Core, p. 116. 

There is a free use of initial capitals in the MS. While it is 
easy to write small unpretending capitals, the translation of them 
into type often disfigures the text. But, though I see no advan- 
tage in this, I have respected the MS. and retained most of the 
capitals. Dolben's practice however was not consistent, and 
I have found precedent in it somewhat to reduce their number. 
He also commonly wrote Ob for the vocative 0. I have in some 
places altered this to the usual form. I have hyphened more 
words than he did, but the unusual hyphens are his own, e.g. 
pale-pink, p. 5. And I have occasionally indented a line to mark 
a new section in poems written without a break. I have now 
enumerated all the grammatical liberties that I have taken. 
The poems are printed in the order of an existing MS. collection, 
which is approximately chronological, since it was originally 
made by transcribing the poems as he sent them to his family : 
and though a few of the poems are manifestly out of order, the 
( 128) 


exact dates of others are too uncertain to make an accurate 
sequence possible. I give what is known of their dates in the notes. 
The poems are printed word for word, except for the change of 
one word on p. 92, and the omission of some lines from the 
unfinished poem No. 43. These alterations are described in the 
notes to those poems. Wherever there is more than one version 
of the same poem, I have (with the exception of one line in 
No. 2) always chosen the latest version, since that is invariably the 
best : but I should add that considerate emendation is generally 
the main evidence of its being the later version. 

My poetical judgement, jealous for Dolben's poetical reputation, 
would have led me to exclude some of the poems here given, 
c. g. 25, 29, 34. Their presence may be some assurance that 
nothing good has been omitted. Of the earlier immature poems 
an account is given in the Memoir : of the later poems all are given 
but three very unworthy pieces, two of which are comic. The 
following notes on the several poems are as few and as short as 
the conditions allow. 

1. This and the three following poems were written at School 
dating 1864. 

2. An account of the three blank-verse pieces called ' Vocation ', 
of which this is the last, will be found in the Memoir, pp. liii 
seq. — ^when I wrote that, I knew only the first draft of this poem 
(From the Cloister), which was originally styled ' Sequel to Voca- 
tion ' ; and in deciding to print this and not the other two, I was 
unaware that Dolben himself had distinguished it above the others 
by a careful revision. It turned out that there v/ere three or 
four copies of it, showing different readings ; and that the latest 
of these had been overlooked, probably because it was shorter 
than the others. But it is no doubt his ultimate revision : and 
it is so well amended that, when I substituted it for the older 
version, I had to alter my critical description, which was already 
typed in the proofs of the Memoir. And since Dolben in his 
revision discarded the old title, this separates it from the other 
two sections, and in some measure implies that he had discarded 

DOLBEN ( 129 ) K 


them. I have printed this latest version, except in one line, 
where I have retained his original. 

But clinging lichen and black shrivelled moss. 
The revision transposes dinging and shrivelled : manifestly 
because shrivelled does not describe moss. But the emendation 
is not satisfactory, so that I agreed to his sister's desire that the 
familiar old line should be kept in this place. On p. 7 the last nine 
lines are punctuated in the MS. by the question being made at for- 
gotten, thus : willow-boughs. So soon forgotten f I have removed 
the quether to the end of the sentence and repeated it there. 

3. I give the original Latin hymn. In this as in his other 
translations it may be seen that his method is poetical. 

Amorem sensus erige 

ad te, largitor veniae, 

ut fias clemens cordibus 

purgatis inde sordibus. 

Benigne multum, Domine, 

Tu lapsum scis in homine, 

infirma est materia, 

versamur in miseria. 

Causa tibi sit agnita, 

nulla mens est incognita ; 

aufer a nobis omnia 

fallentis mundi somnia. 

Dives pauper effectus es, 

pro nobis crucifixus es ; 

lavans a tuo latere 

nos munda vita vetere. 

Externi hue advenimus, 

in exilio gcmimus, 

tu portus es et patria, 

due nos ad vitae atria. 

Felix, quae sitit caritas 

te fontem vitae Veritas, 

bead valde oculi 

te speculantis populi. 

( 130 ) 


Grandis est tibi gloria 
tuae laudis memoria, 
quam sine fine celebrant, 
qui cor ab imis elevant. 
From Mone I, p. 97, who notes ' Amoris sensum ware besser '- 

5. This and the following 13 poems, i. e. Nos. 5-18, were 
written after he left school, and nearly all at Luffenham in 1865. 

6. Under this poem, which is dated Dec. 1864, Dolben has 
written ' Impromptu, written at a railway-station at night '. 
It was in London. Among the earliest poems spoken of in the 
Memoir, p. xxii, as being recovered from the ' holocaust ', the 
following exists, 

Goodnight, dear — , and not goodbye, I say. 
All must be night to me while you're away : 
Yet ever in this present night of sorrow 
Memory will point to me a bright tomorrow. 

Whether or no he remembered his burnt poem, this is an example 
of his art. The actual emotion was years old, and had already 
taken form, but the poetic suggestion was consciously or uncon- 
sciously awaiting a worthier artistic expression. I print the old 
lines here because, while they may serve as a specimen of his 
earliest schoolboy verses, they confirm the account which I give 
of his artistic habit. There is another example in the note to 
No. 43. 

7. The other poem with this title is No. 40. Though they are 
numbered I and II, I have left them in their chronological order 
among the rest. 

8. His father asked him one day to write a poem on the 
garden of Finedon Hall, and this was the result. 

10. The second line is, I think, his later correction of the 

' His basket with frail ferns and flowers fills '. 

11. In the original MS. the punctuation of the 4th stanza 
shows only a comma after waking and a full-stop at dream. There 

( 131 ) K 2 


IS a little speck on the paper above the comma which is most 
like the upper part of a semicolon. The grammar is uncertain, 
and I give it as an example. 

14. Date is Summer 1865, at the lakes. There are two or three 
copies, in which the last 6 lines differ. The text given seems the 
ultimate revision. I have not found any Greek original for these 
lines, though the difficulty in expressing the thought suggests 
translation. The word desired makes its three syllables out of 
the double vowel sound in the second syllable, as Tennyson 
pronounced, and would have written it, desierd, not desired. 

15. There are two versions of this. The differences are few 
and unimportant, chiefly affecting the penultimate stanza. 

17. Dated summer 1865. The original is 

KaT3dvoi(ra de Kciccat TTora Kav ^vajioo'vva aidev 
eirasT* ovre tot ovt va-repov' ou yap nebexeis ^podap 
tS>v €K UtepiaSf aXX atpdi/rfs ktjv 'Aida Sofiois 
^oiTao-fij 7r«8' apavpcDv vcKvau CKireTTOTafiiva, 

18. Of this poem there are 4 copies slightly differing. I take 
that which I believe to be the latest. Dolben was not satisfied 
with the poem, and took much pains to amend it. It was 
published in the Union Review. See note to Memoir, li. p. 140. 

19. This poem and 29 (which is out of place) and probably 20 
and 21, were written during the Lincolnshire period. 

stanza 3, 1. 3. never-falling, sic, but unhyphened in MS. 
stanza 10, 1. 2. A description of the Lincolnshire landscape. 
Memoir, p. xci. 

22. Here begins a series of poems all written in 1866, and 
mostly at Boughrood. This parody of Clough may be taken as 
a tribute atoning in some measure for the harsh judgement in 
his letter on p. Ixxxviii. 

23. Stanza 2, 1. 8. Ruddy-fruited asphodel. I cannot explain 
this epithet. 

24. 11. 20, 21. There is no quether in the MS. I have left the 
punctuation as I found it, not perceiving what was intended. 

( 132 ) 


25. This is one of the poems which I would willingly have 
omitted : and I could not print it without protest. It was 
published in the Union Review. 

28. This poem illustrates very clearly much that I have 
written in the Memoir. In line 6 ' And loves can nevermore 
descend ' is the simplest statement of his own experience. His 
love had descended from Christ to a man, which in the next life 
would be impossible. ' The love-current of a human soul ' (line 9) 
should be devoted to God. In lines i J and following, ' Remem- 
ber this ' etc., he here begs his friend to measure the greatness 
of his love for him by the fact that he loved him with the same 
love-current which he had before devoted to Christ ; and had 
thus, for his sake, lost his love of Christ. — Going on, he narrates 
a vision or ecstasy, in which he returns to Christ, and his earthly 
love then appears as bitterness ; and he concludes by inviting 
his friend to devote himself to Christ. 

29. This poem is of the same date as 19. 

31. The Latin lines are as follows : 
Est prope Cimmerios longo spelunca recessu, 
Mons cavus, ignavi domus et penetralia Somni ; 
Quo nunquam radiis oriens, mediusve, cadensve 
Phoebus adire potest. Nebulae caligine mixtae 
Exhalantur humo, dubiaeq: crepuscula lucis. 
Non vigil ales ibi cristati cantibus oris 
Evocat auroram : nee Voce silentia rumpunt 
SoUicitive canes, canibusve sagacior anser. 
Non fera, non pecudes, non moti flamine rami, 
Humanaeve sonum reddunt convicia linguae. 
Muta quies habitat ; saxo tamen exit ab imo 
Rivus aquae Lethes : per quem cum murmure labens 
Invitat somnos crepitantibus unda lapillis. 
Ante fores antri fecunda papavera florent, 
Innumeraeq: herbae : quarum de lacte soporcm 
Nox legit, et spargit per opacas humida terras. 

Ov. Met. xi. 592 seq. 
( 133 ) 


32. The original, Catullus xxxiv, is as follows. Only the first 
3 stanzas are followed. 

Dianae sumus in fide 
Puellae et pueri integri : 
Dianam pueri integri 

Puellaeque canamus. 
O Latonia, maximi 
Magna progenies lovis, 
Quam mater prope Deliam 

Deposivit olivam, 
Montium domina ut fores 
Silvarumque virentium 
Saltuumque reconditorum 

Amniumque sonantum. 

It is interesting that this translation and No. 17 should have 
been written by a boy who was unable to pass his entrance 
examination at Balliol college. 

33. The original is an anonymous scholion cited by Athenaeus 
XV. 695. D. I ewe this reference to my friend J. W. Mackail. 

frvvepa^ a'va-Te(pai'q<f)6petf 
Svv fioi uaivofisva fialieo, 
avv <Ta)<j>povL <Ta>(j)p6v€t, 

34. The original is Martial xii. 30. 

Siccus, sobrius est Aper, quid ad me ? 
Servum sic ego laudo, non amicum. 

36. This poem dates Autumn 1866 : and the following poems 
are in place. 

37. This is the poem alluded to in Memoir p. xcix. 

40. The title makes this poem a sequel to No. 7. A few lines 
before its third section (The Future) on p. 86, it passes from its 
poetic form into an epistolary address and gradually sinking 
falls very low in the unfortunate passage about Turner, which 
must be traced to Ruskin. The only date which it bears is however 
Dec. 1866. 



4.1. ' The Shrine ', which is dated Oct. 1866, has been printed 
m various collections. There is on the back of the MS., an epigram 
that has escaped the collection. I give it here. 

An unashamed tyrant in every vice — 
An abject slave in cringing cowardice — 
Child, in all things save in simplicity- 
Brute, save in irresponsibihty — 
Believer but in sense and taste and touch — 
My God, and can it be Thou diedst for such ? 

42. Second sonnet, p. 92, line 7. The MS. has 

' Though freighted all with lovely argosies.' 
As I cannot make sense of this I have printed those for with, and 
inserted a comma ; not as a possible correction but to remove 
an obstacle to the reader. 

In the third sonnet, p. 93, in the last line To is the MS. reading. 

43. Here begin the poems of 1867. 

This poem was never completed, and the original MS. has 
several lacunae which are represented in the text by asterisks. 
The dots in the text represent omissions which, considering the 
imperfect state of the poem, I thought myself justified in adding 
to the original lacunae. The reason for these omissions will be 
understood if poem 40 be remembered. It seems as if, when writ- 
ing these blank-verse poems, Dolben unconsciously fell back into 
the earher manner of his old blank-verse poems, which are 
described in the Memoir (pp. liv. and seq.). They show a tendency 
to deteriorate under the influence of the earlier associations, and 
I would willingly have omitted a good part of the end of No. 40. 
I had however no justification : but in this case the unfinished 
condition of the poem invited the omission of the worser parts, 
which greatly detracted from the dignity and beauty of the whole. 
Though the excluded passages were condemned wholly on artistic 
grounds, it may be noted that they contain some verses of an 
ecclesiastical tone, which might have been welcome to sectarian 
furiosity : and it might be supposed that I had omitted them 'or 



that reason. But the two things naturally coincide : it is exactly 
where he falls into this vein that he falls from poetry. I have not 
omitted a word wluch I would willingly have printed, nor a word 
which I could not have persuaded him to delete. 
On p. 102 is this couplet i 

Ah ! who restore tlie \oars the locust ate, 
Hani to remember, harder to forget i 

On the fifty-fourth page of the Memoir the original of these lines 
will be found. It is another instance of an old expression being 
worked upon (as described In note to poem 6} ; and also I tliink 
it is .1 further indication that he had discarded the t'ocation 

45. There is no one mentioned In the Memoir to whom this 
can have been addressed. It is a rather improved version of the 
epitaph which Chiabrera wrote for his own tomb in San Clacomo 
at Savona : for a variant reading see the next note. Dolben 
found It no doubt in Father Faber's books where it is used as 
a motto In Its original sense. 

Amico, io vivendo cercava contorto 

Nel monte Parnasso : 
Tu, meglio consigliato, cercalo 
Nel Calvarlo. 

46. Lord Esher has very kindly sent me all the variants in 
his copies of six poems, ' made In W'm. Johnson's [Cory's] pupil- 
room three years after Dolbcn's death.' N'aiiants occur in five 
poems thus : 

No. 4, p. 

No. 9. 



violets for 

skies were. 



glorious „ 



Gentle „ 







omits HcN'v/. 


on for 








truer „ 




penny „ 


( 136) 


No. 9. p. 26. 4. brink for breast. 

5. ie „ /«. 

No. 30. 66. i6. toiub „ kiss. 
No. 41. 8g. 4. portals „ pavement. 
No. 46. icS. 9. beaven „ £o/>«. 

II. / ibiooi not onjy for We see them not, but. 

With the exception of those in Xo. 46, which will be considered 
later, all these variants are to be discarded as corruptions on the 
authority both of the original MSS. and of Miss Dolbeu's copy. 
But it is very surprising that Wm. Cory should have made an 
inaccurate copy of poems that he thought worth copying ; nor 
is there any simple account of his mistakes, for some of them 
look as if he was relying on his memory, some as if he misread the 
original, as where he writes penny for the peculiarly correct word 
puny, some as if he were consciously amending. Their evidence 
(purposely excluding No. 46) shows Cory's copies to be wholly 
unreliable, and I have only given his variants in full that they 
may discredit themselves and cause no further trouble. 

Mr. Heneage Wynne Finch has very early copies of poems 
45 and 46. In 45 the words are in a different order, thus : Lining 
I dreco thee from the vale, To climb Parnassus' height with me. 
Dying, I etc. Such a variation would arise very naturally, and 
many persons would prefer it to the severity of the original. 
And in 46, (which I will now deal with, italicising the variants,) 
he reads the final stanza thus, 

There may be hope above 

There may be rest beneath 
/ know not — only Love 

Is palpable — and death. 

Lord Esher's copy has this 

There may be heaven above. 

There may be rest beneath ; 
/ knoa not — only Death 

Is palpable — and Love. 

( 137 ) 


In the recovered original MS. the stanza is 

There may be hope above 

There may be rest beneath, 
We know not — only Death 

Ts palpable — and Love. 

In Miss Dolben's copy (which is the text in the book) it 13 

There may be hope above, 

There may be rest beneath— 
JFe see them not — but Death 

Is palpable — . . . and Love. 

In editing this last I merely got rid of some of the author's 
dashes, as is explained on p. 128 : and this is a good example of 

It might seem that the discovery of an original MS. must 
finally decide the reading of this stanza : but the matter is not 
so simple. My published text of the poems was all printed from 
the pages of a copy of the poems which was made by Miss Dolben 
as they came to her ; and, except that in one place she wrote 
■veil for vale, there was, I believe, absolutely no single inaccuracy 
of any kind in the whole of her copy ; and this statement has now 
to be extended to the long poem No. 50. Hence it must be assumed, 
on merely external evidence, that her copy of No. 46 was a faithful 
copy of the poem at some stage. We have therefore two original 
versions to deal with. 

We gladly dismiss Wra. Cory's heaven for hope with the rest 
of his corruptions. Also the / for We in the last line but one must 
go, having the two original authorities against it. The transposi- 
tion of death and love is plainly a mistake. 

The only doubt then is whether we should read We know not 
only, or We see them not, but. 

The copy in Dolben's handwriting is headed Ad quendam, 
whereas his sister's copy has A Song : and this change of title 
together with the quality of the variants in her copy, which are 
in the nature of correction, make a strong case for judging 
Miss Dolben's version to be the later ; and this is confirmed 


by her not having corrected it, since she must have known the 
other version. I do not hold that later are necessarily better 
versions of poems, but I think that in Dolben's case they generally 
were, and that in this instance the change of know to see got rid 
of a meaning which discredited the mood of the poem. However 
that may be, I am glad to have reduced all the variants to this one. 

49. This poem is dated May 1867, which locates it at Finedon. 
But for it his Greek lyrics would have indisputably outdone the 
Christian. This master-piece, which no doubt owes its existence 
to Rossetti's ' Blessed Damozel ', somewhat restores the balance. 
The flush of its sincerity carries the fanciful mediaevalism 
without a trace of affectation ; and in that respect it seems to me 
superior to its model. In stanza 4, last line, the word Holy has 
got into the text of the copies in the place of Goddes, which is in 
ray copy, and (whether original or due to recension) altogether 
preferable. Mr. Humphrey Paul has found other copies of this 
poem ; one, which he calls * an obviously later MS.', contains 
Godis {sic) in 1. 28, and through for in at line 30 : and in line 39 
whither draw is written for where mount, and in lines 53 and 54 
lift and perfect are written for bring and joyous. I think that these 
leave the text in the book as the most acceptable. 

JO. I had not the original MS. of this for collation, and have 
avoided determining ambiguous constructions by punctuation. 
In stanza 10 tired is tierd not tired. [An original MS. of this poem 
has been found, corresponding exactly with Miss Dolben's copy.] 

51. This and the two following poems were found in his desk 
after his death. In the last line of this poem the MS. has 'And 
subtility '. But the word is intended for a trisyllable, to be 
pronounced suhtle-ty, so that I have corrected the spelling to 
avoid error. 

P.S. In this second edition the Poems are reprinted verbatim 
from the first. I have not myself corrected the proofs. 

( 139 


p. viii. Dolben had other font-names, but as he invariably 
suppressed them I have followed his own use. 

xxii. I was eleven years of age in the lower school in the 
division called Sense when I first read Ovid ; and some elegiacs 
of his opened my eyes to poetry. 

xxxiii. Coles tells me that ' as a matter of fact there was 
not a Roman-catholic chapel at Slough '. I must leave this 
matter of local history open. 

xxxiv. The letters. I have printed almost every scrap that 
I have, because they are the only actual relics, and afiEord a picture 
which would be weakened by selection. 

p. li note. Mr. Bar tie Hack, the Vicar of St. Thomas' Church, 
Oxford, informs me that ' the Prodigal's Introit ' was published 
in the Union Review, vol. ii, 1864, p. 322, and ' the Prodigal's 
Benediction ' p. 430, both signed P. P. P. O. Also the hexa- 
meter poem described on p. Ixi appears in volume iii, p. 234, under 
the title ' Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini '- And ' Voca- 
tion ' at p. 577 ; and No. 18 in vol. iv, p. 109 ; and No. 25 at 
p. 666. These are signed ' Dominic O. S. B. ii.' I have compared 
the unimportant variants of these editings, and do not think 
them worth recording. 

Ixx. Constantine E. Prichard was a friend of Walter Bagehot, 
and is mentioned in his recently published Memoir. Walter 
Bagehot was first cousin to V. S. S. Coles' mother. [1914.] 

cxiii. Except it were Walford, I do not know from whom 
Newman can have ' heard of ' Dolben in the sense implied : and 
since, in my opinion, his kindly words do not show accurate know- 
ledge, this fact was of weight with me in balancing the evidence of 
Walford's influence over Dolben. If they two had been intimate 
together, then Newman would have been better informed ; whereas 
his words are like the practised utterance of one who, accustomed 
to have admirers hanging on his speech, is skilful in formulating 
what will satisfy without ofiFence. Coles tells me that, wishing to 

( HO ) 


know whether Dolben had acted under Newman's advice, and 
being anxious to learn any facts, he wrote a letter of enquiry to 
the Cardinal : but that Newman, either mistaking his meaning, 
or perhaps because he had no real information to give, replied 
most courteously by discussing the question concerning which 
he imagined a friend would be most likely to wish for information, 
namely whether, since Dolben had not been received into the 
Roman communion, his soul could be saved. This clerkly opinion 
is lost 

Of the two portraits of Dolben I have not been able to establish 
the dates. The tradition is that they were both done at the same 
time before he left Eton. They are from the firm of Hills and 

( HI ) 


After reading Aeschylus, 26. 
After reading Homer, 27. 
Amorem sensus, 10. 
Anacreontic, 32, 70. 
Annunciation, The, 64. 

Beyond, 73. 

Brevi tempore magnum per- 
fecit opus, 54. 

Cave of Somnus, 67. 
Core, 116. 

Dianae Munusculum, 68. 
Dum agonizatur Anima, orent 
assistentes, 95. 

Enough, 109. 

Eternal Calvary, The, 46. 

Flowers for the Altar, 80. 
From the Cloister, 5. 

Good Friday, 31. 
Good Night, 20. 

He would have his Lady sing, 

Homo factus est, i. 

In the Garden, 24. 

Last Words, 107. 
Letter, A, 60. 
Lily, The, 59. 

Martial, From, 70. 

On the Picture of an Angel by 
Fra Angelico, 41. 

Pilgrim and the Knight, The, 

Poem without a Name, A, 21. 
Poem without a Name, A (II), 

Poppies, 71. 
Prayer, A, 58. 
Pro Castitate, 78. 

Requests, 44. 

Sappho, From, 37. 
Sea Song, A, 18. 
Shrine, The, 89. 
Sister Death, 66. 
Song, A, 108. 
Song of Eighteen, A, 105. 
Sonnets, 91-4. 



( 142) 


A boyish friendship ! No, respond the chimes 
As pants the heart for forest-streams 
Author of pardon, Jesu Christ 

Beautiful, oh beautiful .... 
Behold me will-less, witless in the night . 
Beyond the calumny and wrong 

Christ, for whose only Love I keep me clean 
Come to me. Beloved .... 

Drink, in the glory of youth . 

Far above the shaken trees 

From falsehood and error 

From the great Poet's lips I thought to take 

Happy the man, who on the mountain-side 
Hear the choir of boy and maid 
Here in the flats that encompass the hills called Beautiful 

I asked for Peace ..... 

I do not think, or ask or fear 

I, living, drew thee from the vale 

I pray you this my song to take 

I said — ' 'Tis very late we meet 

I said to my heart, — ' I am tired 

I thankthee, Love, that thou hast overthrown 

I will not sing my little puny songs . 

In the days before the high tide 

In vain you count his virtues up 

Lean over me — ah so, — ^let fall 

Lilies, lilies not for me . . . . 

( H3 ) 

Index of First Lines 

Methought the sun in terror made his bed 
Methought, through many years and lands 
My Love, and once again my Love . 
My sister Death ! I pray thee come to me 

Near the Cimmerian land, deep-caverned, Ues 
Not so indeed shall be our creed 

come, my king, and fill the palaces 

to have wandered in the days that were 

On river banks my love was born 

On the silent ages breaking 

On the tender myrtle-branches 

Once, on the river banks we knew . 

One night I dreamt that in a gleaming hall 

Press each on each, sweet wings, and roof me in 

Sing me the men ere this .... 
Strain them, O winds, the sails of the years 
Strange, all-absorbing Love, who gatherest 
Surely before the time my Sun has set 

Tell us, tell us, holy shepherds 

The sun has set ..... . 

The world is young today .... 

There is a garden, which I think He loves 

There is a shrine whose golden gate . 

There was one who walked in shadow 

Thou liest dead, — lie on : of thee 

'Twas not in shady cloister that God set His chosen one 

Unto the central height of purple Rome . , 

Virgin born of Virgin ...... 

Was it a dream — the outline of that Face 

We hurry on, nor passing note . . . . 

When all my words were said 

Where in dawnv/ard Sicily . . . . . 

( 144 ) 


'I 1!.